Ted, R13, 106 mins
Seth MacFarlane, who wrote the television comedies Family Guy and American Dad, tiptoes into the world of movie-making with a very curious combination: a clever but limited concept and a whole heap of cracking one-liners all desperately seeking a real plot.
McFarlane wrote, produced and also took the best role in voicing the title character of Ted, a potty-mouthed, pot-smoking teddy bear which came to life 27 years ago, endured minor celebrity, and has since stuck firmly with its owner, fellow wastrel John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg), living the slacker lifestyle. The meagre storyline concerns John's attempts to divest himself of the bear and take life seriously, and an afterthought finale involving an attempted kidnap of our furry friend.
The idea of a teddy bear doing bucket bongs, hookers and singer Norah Jones in a broom cupboard is, fleetingly, entertaining; but Ted falls down (at least for the thinking viewer) once you realise that's all it has to offer beyond the bear's constant flow of sharp one-liners. But these may be enough to keep the teen target market entertained, especially if they are taking as many recreational drugs as the lead characters.
Wahlberg rolls out his rote character – fine, upstanding, well-muscled, rather dull working man – and his love interest, Mila Kunis, looks barely interested. Fortunately, there are three suitable diversions. First is the bear himself, who wisely appears in almost every scene given the disinterest of his fellow leads. Then comes the appearance of Sam Jones, star of the 60s' superhero show Flash Gordon, playing himself, and then there is Patrick Stewart's turn as the film's off-colour narrator, an idea lifted directly from Little Britain but still with some mileage left in it.
That's just about enough to sustain your good humour through 106 minutes, and the belief that McFarlane will come up with something much better next time around.
- © Fairfax NZ News