Crude, vile and juvenile – TED is exquisitly puerile


I didn’t know much about TED. I haven’t given it much thought. So it was probably my fourth choice of movie tonight – after Ice Age 4, Snow White and the Huntsman and The Three Stooges. But I was over-ruled by the kids, who, afterall, are more hip-to-the-scene than their scab-encrusted father.

What really surprised me is that the cinema was FULL. Yes its Saturday. And yes its 8:30pm but I haven’t been in a full theatre for a long time. In fact the film was delayed by 10 minutes while the ushers – remember them – dealt with certain patrons who were not able to locate where they should sit using this convoluted system of numbers and letters that matches the ticket in your hand (and by extension you) to the right seat. Its confusing I know. Did I say 10 minutes? It felt like 10 years whilst the brains trust of Frankston gradually got their shit together.

Back to TED.

TED is about an unpopular 8 year old boy who wishes for a friend and his wish comes true when the teddy bear (TED) his parents give him for christmas actually comes to life. Right up, one thing I really liked is that the film just accepted the fact of TED. No pointless devices to have only the main character aware of TED’s consciousness. No. Everybody sees TED. In fact he becomes a minor celebrity and even does the talk show circuit.

Well we fast forward 27 years and what started out as wholesome and heartwarming rapidly turns rancid and corrupt. Thank god for that. The boy, John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) now 35 years old is still accompanied by TED and the two live a kind of Slacker-cum-Stoner-cum-Loser lifestyle.

John’s girlfriend of 4 years Lori (Mila Kunis) is growing ever more tired of TED and his influence over John. In the way of these things John is given an ultimatum – and has to choose between a unique and magical life-long friend and soul-mate or his GF of 4 years. So he chooses the GF and the remainder of the film starts to grind through a series of situations where everybody grows and learns and finds out what they really value in life. Or something like that.

Now as the title to this post suggests, TED is a juvenile film. Gloriously and unapologetically so. If you have been running low on laughs from bodily functions you can top up here. This is no surprise coming from Seth MacFarlane, creator of the politically incorrect cartoon series Family Guy and much else that is reviled by the right thinking right in America. I quite like Family Guy – but on and off. I enjoy American Dad much more.

But…..if not for the fast-paced high-octane crudity, individual jokes and cultural references I would have gotten really bored. TED is like some kind of random friend who delights in shocking you over and over. You never fail to be surprised and stimulated but the friendship is never really satisfying.

And thats how I felt about this film.

Mark Wahlberg does not a convincing slacker-stoner-loser make. He’s not even close. TED should have been paired with someone like Danny McBride. And I’m going out on a huge limb here to say that even Adam Sandler would have been a better choice. That took some courage.

Also the film should not have been dominated by a love story of all things. MacFarlane breaks all manner of barriers and taboos. Gives us a brilliant character and concept – only to build a conventional and uninspiring framework around them. It is like having Peter Griffin as the central character in the Berenstein Bears. A waste.

So its only 6 1/2 farts out of 10 I’m afraid.

Categories: Comedy, Films

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