Monday, September 3, 2012

Movie Review: Ted

I don't know if it says more about my interests, or just the overwhelming dominance of the genre in this summer's blockbuster line-up, but Ted is the first film I've seen in cinemas this summer that didn't involve some guy in Spandex jumping off a building. A bit of both, probably, but it certainly nice to get see something different up on the big screen. On what seemed like a quiet weekend at the box-office, it was this or The Expendables 2, - no interest in Total Remake, thanks - and the profanity spewing Teddy Bear won the day.

The more I think about it, the more I think that Ted actually has a lot of problems as a film. It's core emotional storyline of a feckless man-child who has to grow up to be worthy of his much-more-together girlfriend is becoming as hackneyed as "damsel in distress" variants were a generation ago, and the "Ted in Peril" storyline feels tacked on just to add a bit of running around at the end. The beats of the story are a little off too, the pacing slides around at times and the whole thing is heavy on co-incidence particularly of the "Ted knows this guy who knows this guy..." sort. And even for a movie rooted in Magical Realism and starring, lets face it, a talking Teddy Bear, the end could be seen coming from about 20 minutes in.

But really, I enjoyed the hell out of it.

I wasn't too sure what to expect as the screen went dark and I started to recover from another one of those terrible Orange Ads (really - didn't they used to be funny?) because I've never seen Family Guy, and this is being heavily pushed as "from the creator of...". Most of the trailers have focused on Ted himself, usually the swearing, drug-taking side of his character too, but the film opens with a pretty long establishing sequence of how he came to be wished into life, and setting up how close Ted and his owner John (Mark Wahlberg) are. Flash forward to the present day and you're in "man-child" territory, getting stoned and watching 80s throwback movies, before establishing that like every other regressive man-child in modern comedy, John has also acquired a hot girlfriend, Lori (Mila Kunis).

As you've probably gathered, the plot here moves in pretty predictable ways, but the joy of the film is the getting there. It's an opinionated, sweary beast of a film, that doesn't feel like it's trying to pitch to the safe seats in where it goes with its humour, and even when not all the jokes hit they feel sincere. It has also got a lot of heart, so the scatological nature of it doesn't feel mean-spirited, and there is a lot of laughing with, not laughing at, and a lot of genuine affection for the heavy doses of 80s nostalgia that run through the script.

There really isn't a lot else to say - as a Community fan I could have done with more Joel McHale, who is always good value, but really this is a film about hanging out with your mates and the (well documented in modern cinema) conflict this can bring when the time comes that you need to grow up a bit. So yeah, this may be a little shallow but it's a hell of a lot of fun.