Movie review: Ted

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Seth MacFarlane is the creator of animated television comedies Family Guy and American Dad, so it's no surprise his big-screen debut, though using real actors, features a talking bear and a collection of filthy jokes, inappropriate behaviour and crude language.

What is surprising is that Ted is genuinely funny - if you're not prudish - and if you're not a sufferer of Parkinson's Disease, a Muslim, Jewish, gay, fat or Susan Boyle.

Most of the jibes come from an embittered teddy bear, called Ted, voiced by MacFarlane himself. Wished into life on a falling star by John Bennett (Wahlberg) when he was a boy, Ted is no longer famous and, like many former child stars, is dealing with life as a has-been.

Ted's now a slacker who spends his day sitting on John's couch smoking dope, watching TV, and calling in prostitutes. None of which goes down terribly well when John's girlfriend Lori (Kunis) demands more commitment and Ted is asked to move out.

Wahlberg gives his man-child character both youthful enthusiasm and emotion. His performance is also impressive given his furry co-star was really an imaginary friend - Ted was shot using motion-capture technology with MacFarlane providing the action and inserted into the film during post-production.

You wouldn't know, given the seamless performances from Wahlberg and Kunis; Ted being so convincing as a real character is one of the reasons MacFarlane has pulled off this madcap idea.

Ted is, at heart, a relatively simple and predictable romantic comedy/buddy movie but it's much more than the extended single-gag it could so easily have been.

Sure, in large part he does it through an assault of shocking comments, farts and fights; but he also adds enough heart and emotion to make us care.

It's a good combination executed well by a standout cast and, while there's toilet humour and material here you'd rather forget, there's a handful of superb scenes you will chuckle about for days.

Star: 4/5
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis
Director: Seth MacFarlane
Running time: 106 mins
Rating: R13 (Offensive language, drug use and sexual content that may offend)
Verdict: Shock tactics keep this comedy moving.

-TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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