Visionary artist Seth MacFarlane makes a smooth transition from animated TV to the big screen with his debut feature “Ted,” a lighter-than-feathers comedy that revolves around one joke, albeit a very funny one.
It was only a matter of time before MacFarlane becomes a filmmaker, having left his mark on TV comedy in such innovative and popular shows as “Family Guy,” “American Dad!” and “The Cleveland Show.”
His feature debut Ted is not as inventive or boundary-pushing in ideas or humor as his small-screen work, but it displays his unique pop-culture sensibility. McFarlane is truly the auteur of this effort, functioning as co-writer, director, producer and voice star.
MacFarlane directs from a screenplay he co-authored with his reliable peers, Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild (“Family Guy,” “The Late Late Show With Craig Kilborn”).
The new live-action CG-animated comedy centers on a prototype of American comedy, an adult male who simply refuses and/or is unable to assume the responsibilities and duties that come with maturity.
Well cast, the boyish Mark Wahlberg joins a league of actors in playing John Bennett, a biologically grown man whose childhood fantasy wish has brought his cherished teddy bear (voiced by MacFarlane) to life.
Three decades later, while the fairy tale is over, Ted is reluctant to leave John’s company, to the increasing annoyance of those around John, especially his girlfriend, Lori Collins (Mila Kunis), who is willing to be patient only up to a point. John’s dead-end career and days spent smoking weed and drinking beers with Ted only increase her displeasure with him.
But Lori is not the only one who is frustrated with or disappointed with John, who shows struggle to figure out a way to navigate adulthood.
Can John make the leap before it is too late, and without alienating his friends? And if yes, who will help him move from bring a man-child to a grown-up man?
The cast of “Ted” is composed of several “Family Guy” regulars that include Jessica Barth as Tami-Lynn, Ted’s fellow cashier, and John Viener plays Alix, John’s clueless co-worker.
Alex Borstein and Ralph Garman embody John’s loving-yet-befuddled mother and father. Joining them is newcomer Brett Manley portrays 8-year-old John, whose Christmas wish starts this whole friendship.
Patrick Stewart serves as the narrator of the tale, which is sporadically charming, though very slender as far as plot or substance are concerned. Ultimately, “Ted” is yet another one-note gag extended to the limits of a feature.
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