Brian Henry Martin at the movies

Ted: Bear Behaving Badly

Published Thursday, 02 August 2012
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If you go down to the cinema today, you're in for a big surprise - for the bear you'll meet is not cute and cuddly but a foul mouthed, drug taking party animal called Ted ...

*VIDEO GUIDANCE: This trailer contains adult humour and language.

This may well be the sleeper hit of the summer, the comedy that catches fire and has them rolling in the aisles and bankrolling the box office.

The story begins in 1985 with the cosmic granting of a Christmas wish, as eight-year-old John Bennett's best friend, his teddy bear, amazingly comes to life. "A Christmas miracle," his mother exclaims. "Just like the baby Jesus"! But 'Ted', the walking, talking teddy bear is more delinquent than deity.

Imagine if ET had stayed with Elliott in surburbia and not returned home to his galaxy far, far away. Fast forward thirty years and ET and Elliott are two cheeky couch potatoes getting high every night and re-watching Flash Gordon. Welcome to the world of grizzly scamp Ted and man-child John Bennett (played by Mark Wahlberg). Breaking up this bromance is John's long suffering girlfriend Lori (played by Mila Kunis) who tells him "I need a man not a little boy with a Teddy Bear ". So for hapless John, the choice is clear, it's her or the bear.

Underneath the fur-ious comedy of Ted is the standard skeleton of a traditional rom-com complete with a conservative ending. Ted does not really work as a fully rounded film but feels more like three episodes of a sitcom strung together. This will not be a surprise or a disappointment to the legions of Seth MacFarlane fans, the director of Ted and creator of Family Guy. MacFarlane is a renaissance man with a filthy mind, an Emmy award winner and accomplished swing singer (he's appearing at this month's Proms in London), who's believed to be the highest paid writer/director on American TV . His sharp one liners don't just crack you up, but cut you to the bone.

McFarlane is at his best playing the badly behaved bear. Ted is crude, rude, racist, sexist and even cracks a few 9-11 jokes. It seems only a terrible teddy can say the stuff human comedians can only dream about. However, the film falls flat when Ted is not on-screen as neither Mark Wahlberg or Mila Kunis are comedians, far from it, and the base comedy is more Viz than whiz. A fart joke may be funny once, but five times? Let's be clear Ted is an adult fairy tale and not for the kids.

This is classic stoner cinema, where it's not so much leave your brain at the door but have it floating from the ceiling.

Some of you will give Ted a bear hug, others will find him unbearable. I felt like Goldilocks about this film, 'too hot' then 'too cold' and then 'just right'.

Ted (Cert 15) is now on general release.

© UTV News
B. H. Martin
B. H. Martin

Brian Henry Martin is an accomplished documentary filmmaker and UTV's resident film critic, appearing regularly on UTV Live Tonight.

No matter what the film, there's a good chance Brian has seen it.


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