Step aside, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Mark Wahlberg is quickly becoming my favorite Massachusetts movie star.
Wahlberg, the rapper-turned-model-turned-actor, has done some incredible work over the past few years. Whether he was garnering an Oscar nomination for his supporting role in The Departed to his leading role in the 2010 drama The Fighter (which he also produced), he’s proven his acting chops onscreen. His newest project Ted shows something else about the young star. He isn’t afraid to take on a quirky comedy and make the most of a script that features him spending most of his time onscreen talking to a profane teddy bear.
The title character in Ted is a typical teddy bear when the story begins. An eight-year old boy named John Bennett–with whom no one in the neighborhood wants to hang out — receives him for Christmas. Bennett wishes that his bear became alive and his hope for an instant best friend comes true overnight. But unlike in other movies, Ted isn’t just alive to his owner. He’s a real walking talking teddy bear who scares John’s parents and eventually becomes a major celebrity.
The realization that Ted isn’t just alive to his owner is one of this film’s nicest surprises.
Seth McFarlane, the creator of Family Guy, directed and wrote this story and proves that he isn’t afraid to embrace its absurd premise. When John gets older and is played by Wahlberg, the story’s potential is fully realized because as Ted grows up to be a crude, profane man-child who likes getting high and geeking out about Flash Gordon, so does his teddy bear.
Both individuals are still kids at heart and easily frightened by thunder but they are also both adults who can’t live without each other. That situation becomes untenable when John’s long-time and ever-patient girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) wants the teddy bear to move out. Ted and Lori get along but Lori wants to have a mature adult relationship with her boyfriend and his talking teddy keeps getting in the way.
This intriguing plot gives MacFarlane plenty of room to fill the movie with the crude, profane comedy that he’s known for. The film is politically incorrect and full of jokes that some will be offended by. But no worries. It’s hard to be offended when the comedy is great and keeps you laughing at the insanity of it all.
Ted eventually becomes the ultimate bear bromance. Sure, John and Ted come from different worlds but these friends belong together and their dialogue and eventually the wrestling match that the two engage in shows how well-suited they are for each other. The film isn’t for everyone–if you’re easily offended, steer clear– but it’s a surprisingly funny and witty comedy about a man’s relationship with his teddy bear. You can laugh at the premise if you want, but the movie turns out to be one of the funniest of the year.
Damon and Affleck have proven that two bros can succeed in Hollywood together but in Ted, Wahlberg shows that two guys don’t have to both be human to be best friends.