Sunday, March 30, 2014

Movie Review #12: Ted

I could probably do an entire separate blog post about Seth Macfarlane specifically, but i'll save that for another time.

Ted was the first movie I watched during the flight from Tokyo to Los Angeles. Short review: I laughed out loud twice. Although it's dressed up in Seth's sense of humor, the story itself is pretty formulaic. I don't really recommend it.


A Christmas miracle grants a lonely kid's wish, granting life to a teddy bear. The two stick together for 30 years. Now the guy and the bear live with with the guy's girlfriend who, though good-natured, is slowly getting fed up with the sleazy bear's antics.

In the end, will the guy choose his loving girlfriend or his best friend of 30 years?


The choice presented above is the one the set-up would suggest, but a mature person can probably see that it shouldn't be a choice at all. A mature person could balance the two, maintaining both a romantic relationship and a friendship simultaneously.

And, in fact, that's what the movie is really about: growing up. Becoming mature. The main character is in his 30s, but he's still dodging responsibility like a child. The development of his character is about him realizing that his bear isn't the problem: he is.

There are a lot of things I liked about this movie. The girlfriend, for instance, never came off as an fun-hating snob, as they are so often portrayed in movies like this. This isn't a movie about having a crappy relationship and then finding a different girl that "gets" the main character; it's about a healthy, long-term relationship that they're fighting to maintain. You can see why the guy likes this girl and why they're good for each other. All of this is sorely lacking in movies in general.

Although I didn't find most of the bear's antics particularly amusing, both times I laughed aloud on this crowded airplane was due to him. Or, specifically, it was his interactions with his boss. Otherwise, I was fairly lukewarm to the character.

Often he was simply the source of the cutaways and pop culture references we've come to expect from Macfarlane which, I imagine, were designed to distract people from the valuable lesson the story was trying to convey. Unfortunately, it may have been too successful in that regard, since I'm afraid the valuable parts of the movie get pretty buried under Seth's attempts at comedy.

The moral and more interesting arc concludes about 2/3 of the way through the film, leaving the third act to focus around a less interesting conflict focused around the bear, who I wasn't terribly invested in. By that time, the guy and the girl have resolved their differences and are working together, so it feels very disconnected.

In the end, the bear appears do die, leading to a sappy, predictable ending that might have been emotional if I felt invested in the bear at all. The only people who might get invested in him would be kids, but kids should definitely not be watching this movie.


Seth is capable of telling a good story, but it feels like he's trying so hard to be funny and retain his style that it detracts from his good ideas. That said, while I can't really recommend Ted to anyone, I hope that Seth gets some constructive feedback from this film and gives it another go sometime.

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