Since it was introduced back in 1999, Seth MacFarlane’s work on animated sitcom Family Guy had progressively risen to worldwide fame and has largely influenced a generation. Whilst continuing with the show in 2011, MacFarlane decided to put his talents to the test, so to speak, as he began production on his feature film directorial debut - Ted. We already knew from the very beginning that it was going to feature the similar comical, vulgar styles of humour and character types from Family Guy. Although Ted may have had a few misses, so to speak, regarding laughs, it still became a successful comedy that is a delight to watch from start to finish and is a solid debut to feature films from Seth MacFarlane.
For Seth MacFarlane to make his directorial debut a success, the only way for it to become just that would be a comedy in similar relation to what created him - Family Guy. First, the sense of humour within Ted can be seen one of two ways: hilarious pieces of comedy or can come across as offensive due to either direct insulting jokes or vulgar language. The majority of those jokes are either not related or are not entirely relevant to what is actually happening within the film. It is simply trying not to run out of steam, so to speak, by keeping the audience interested. Furthermore, MacFarlane used various references from other TV shows and films within the actual plot of the story itself, such as John wishing his teddy bear to come alive and they become friends forever. Although it is recognized as a comedy, it is an equally genuine heartwarmer. MacFarlane teaches us lessons about friendship, love, commitment and about what to do when about to cross the bridge from childhood to adulthood. Therefore, he exposed another professional side to him with these thought-provoking messages.
Throughout his career, Mark Wahlberg has taken the roles in films particularly part of the action and sport genres. However, like MacFarlane and making his feature film debut, Wahlberg stars in a comedy portraying the vulnerable and occasionally, immature protagonist John Bennett. We have seen this type of character over and over again as it is a man acting like a young boy, but at the same time, he was someone that became rather new to the screen (struggles to become a man due to childhood memories and influences). Having said that most of the comedy contained references from previous sources of television and film, the characters were a part of that too. For example, John making an evening wish that his favourite toy would come alive and did so revolutionized the story of Pinocchio and Geppetto making his wish. Nevertheless, Wahlberg provided us with a rather special performance as he gave us various understandings of the traditional behaviour during childhood, adolescence and adulthood with one single character in an individual film.
Mila Kunis, who ironically portrayed Meg Griffin in Family Guy returns to work with Seth MacFarlane but in a more leading role and where we actually see her perform as opposed to just hearing. She portrayed John’s girlfriend Lori Collins, who is the only one of the three primary characters who gives the film a natural, humane and more serious tone to it. She also sold the comedy scenes rather well and as a result, performed at a higher standard than the rest of the cast. Now what we’ve all being waiting for – Seth MacFarlane’s both hilariously daft and emotional role as Ted. This character can be seen in many ways such as a relation to the alien Paul in the title film and various characters from Family Guy. In fact, Ted is practically Peter Griffin in the form of a teddy bear. To take away the innocence within the protagonist’s childhood memory is usually a very sensitive and, at times, controversial issue, but MacFarlane marvellously executed it very emotionally and still provided us with a likeable, personal bond with a message. In addition to providing the voice of Ted, he performed the motion-capture of the character that resulted in outstanding effects that is, quite frankly, hard to identify between a CGI teddy bear and a real one. Although we had three genuinely touching and funny protagonists, the only issue, story-wise, that did not quite seem in its place with the remainder of the film was the subplot featuring the primary antagonist Donny (portrayed by Giovanni Ribisi) and his son Robert (Aiden Mincks). It was just pushed in and did not really feel necessary. Finally, Patrick Stewart provided the voice of the narrator and Sam Jones made an appearance too as himself.
Overall, Ted is a comedy that will either leave people laughing from start to finish or will simply become a very insulting feature to sensitive viewers due to the jokes. Therefore, it is perhaps preferable if one is a fan of Seth MacFarlane and his work, particularly Family Guy. Although the humour can go either way, MacFarlane still generated the emotional heartwarming drama into the film. Furthermore, Ted may be a fantasy film but MacFarlane successfully grasped the realism of a completely fictional film into a delightful comedy-drama. Lastly, Ted features a genuinely creative screenplay that is one of the best in recent memory within its genre and it is a solid debut from Seth MacFarlane that proves he is capable of providing us with more hits in the future.