Ted (2012) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Ted (2012)

Danny no longer writes for Can't Stop the Movies, and can be reached at his fantastic site Pre-Code.com

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"What? Oh, I come on, I do not sound like Peter Griffin!"

Hey, didn't I just watch this movie a few weeks ago? Ted is pretty much the exact same goddamn movie as Adam Sandler's That's My Boy, but somehow worse for the wear. That may be because Sandler's comedy involves relying on human foibles (and sexism) for laughs as opposed to references to films from the 1980's (and racism) for laughs.

But they do both hate the gays. I will give them that.

Ted regards homosexuality an undesirable intimacy between two men, when, taken to its logical conclusion, is only violence. Men who love men want to be beaten up. It's great fun; it reminds me of that William Friedkin movie, Cruising. Those gays and that S&M! Hilarious.

Children beware. That's what they say when they're together.

More to the point, comedic actor Mark Whalberg had a pretty good part in that movie a few years back, The Other Guys. Here he's paired up with a teddy bear who can talk (it's some guy who sounds like Seth MacFarlane, but who can really tell these days), and its like Mac and Me only they grew up and decided to reenact their favorite scenes from Knocked Up.

This is bad news for Mila Kunis (who was, like, totally hot in that Friends With Benefits last year) as she plays "Someone Who Owes The Director a Favor" and spends 90% of the film in pure nag mode. That's how Katherine Heigl built a career for a while there, right? Remember her in Killers? Yeah, like that.

The titular teddy is rude and crude, a comic invention along the lines of Jar-Jar Binks with a Your Highness twist. He's brought to life by magic, and the movie finds this to be completely uninteresting. The only person who does find this anything more than routine or a novelty is creepy old Giovani Ribisi, who had so much fun with Marky Mark back in Contraband that he had to show up here to play the psychopath once more.

"Honk honk" -- Harpo Marx

Like Whalberg and the teddy bear, Ribisi's character is obsessed with the 1980's and his coming of age into adulthood. However, since Ribisi is the bad guy, there are obvious differences that clue the audience what's wrong with him:

  • He's quiet, awkward and, most importantly, doesn't do drugs.
  • He's into the girly side of the 1980's. He dances along to Tiffany's "I Think I'm Alone Now" instead of having the Knight Rider theme as his cell phone ring like Whalberg does.
  • He's dirt poor. As opposed to Whalberg's comfortable middle class existence and Ted's lower class-but-still glamorous existence, he lives in an ugly house that aches with the feeling of a man who lost everything that ever meant anything to him.

He wants to kidnap Ted because he feels that his life was denied the magic that Whalberg (and apparently the rest of the world) have taken for granted. And that's why he's the bad guy.

A great deal of the plot involves references to the 1980 film version of Flash Gordon, including a whole bit with Sam Jones playing a drug addicted madman still obsessed with a victory over Ming so-many-years-later. He's a former celebrity, though, so it's played for fun-- like The Wrestler if we got to see Mickey Rourke punching stereotyped Asian people just because he was coked out of his mind.

This is like a scene in Dirty Dancing. How, I don't know, but it's like it's a scene in the movie Dirty Dancing. See? Now this caption is hilarious!

There is one particularly ballsy scene in the film that I have to point out, and that's when Kunis and Whalberg recall their stories of how they first met. In Kunis's, he accidentally punches her in the back of the head during some bad dancing. In his version, it's a parody of Airplane. No, not Airport, no not Saturday Night Fever, the people behind this film parodied a parody.

We have entered the meta-meta universe. That's why my future film reviews will contain reviews of my reviews while I'm reviewing the reviews. It's brilliant because it's needlessly complicated and requires a dozen layers of critical deconstruction to understand; if you understand it, then you're better than the people who don't, and that's hilarious.

Ted's inability to take anything seriously undermines itself since the last third becomes a dirge of unearned emotional payoffs. There's also a car chase-- you know, since it's a comedy movie and, as Horrible Bosses proved, comedies can't end without a long interminable action scene. The plot's resolution isn't much of a resolution since not a damn thing has changed for our main characters since act one, and it flails desperately to hide that. That leaves the movie topped with a series of still frames explaining what happened to the secondary characters after the movie's ended.

Yeah, just like Fast Times at Ridgemont High. How'd you know?

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Posted by Danny

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  1. I had a fun time with this flick because it was very, very funny and MacFarlane knows how to use raunch to his advantage. Don’t like Family Guy either, so I’m really surprised I liked this one. Good review Danny.

    • Oh, come on, Dan! This was baaaaad. Funny is one thing, but the construction is just a mess. If they’d replaced the bear, this would just be Paul again!

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