Whenever someone compares Matt Groening’s ‘The Simpsons’ to Seth McFarlane’s ‘Family Guy’ I always roll my eyes.
Why? It’s pretty simple. When ‘The Simpsons’ first aired on American television in 1989, it was one of a kind and there had never been anything quite like it before. Furthermore, ‘The Simpsons’ is broadcast before the watershed whilst ‘Family Guy’ has much more adult humour and as a result is broadcast much later; essentially ‘The Simpsons’ has always had to work harder for its laughs whilst McFarlane’s ‘Family Guy’ has much more territory to operate within.
My musings aside, McFarlane’s directorial debut ‘Ted’ is so hilariously funny that you will never look at a stuffed animal in the same way ever again.
Boston, 1985. Eight year-old John Bennett (Wahlberg) finds a stuffed teddy bear under the Christmas Tree.
John is a bit of a loner so in a bid to wave his lonely days goodbye he wishes that the newly found stuffed bear will come to life; his wish is granted.
John and Ted are best friends and where one goes the other is sure to follow.
However, fast forward 25 years and John and Ted’s men behaving badly lifestyle is wearing thin and when it starts to annoy John’s long-term girlfriend (Kunis), something has got to give but who will it be?
If you’re expecting a comedy with a message, stay away.
McFarlane’s lewd, and to a certain extent, adolescent humour, is alive and well in ‘Ted’. So much so it makes ‘The Inbetweeners’ look like an episode of ‘Miss Marple’.
The opening half hour is very enjoyable.
Narrated by Patrick Stewart we see how John’s wish comes true and he and his new best friend Ted (voiced by McFarlane) embark on a life of laughs, pranks and one liners that Bart Simpson would be proud of.
Ted and John enjoy many of life’s milestone moments together and their bond appears unbreakable.
McFarlane brings us up to date 25 years later when 30- something John and Ted are sat at home on John’s couch smoking bongs and talking about women.
John’s girlfriend Lori is a high achiever and she loves John dearly.
Lori wants to build a life together with John and in between the bad example that Ted is setting, she is having to fight off the advances of her creepy boss (Joel McHale).
Let me be clear, any time I watched ‘Family Guy’ I found it funny but as they say in Derry, I was never dying about it.
So, it is was inevitable that I approached ‘Ted’ with trepidation; I thought McFarlane’s movie would be littered with little Peter Griffin references that only fans would understand.
I was wrong.
Whilst it’s perfectly clear that the same mind that is behind ‘Family Guy’ is behind ‘Ted’ it’s equally plain to see that McFarlane has expanded his writing to encompass people like me.
Some of the jokes and scenes are sure to leave people feeling uncomfortable but that’s what you get with McFarlane.
It’s a bit like opening a bag of cheese and onion crisps and then saying you’re disappointed because they taste of cheese and onion. You knew what you were getting.
Yes, the jokes are funny and McFarlane’s voiced Ted is top notch but the best thing about ‘Ted’ is Wahlberg’s performance. Wahlberg is quickly becoming more versatile than Derry City’s Patrick McEleney and there’s a scene where he and Ted sing a song to fight off their fear of their dark and it’s pure comic genius.
McFarlane’s ‘Ted’ is crass, unabated and relentless. It’s as subtle as Derry’s ‘Peace Bridge’ but it’s certainly very, very funny.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
3/5 - You’ve been warned so if you’ve read this review you cannot have any complaints. McFarlane’s humour is bang on the money and it doesn’t exclude unconverted ‘Family Guy’ viewers such as myself. Wahlberg and Kunis are likeable and McFarlane’s voiced Ted is a comedy performance of the summer. It’s crass, lewd but it’s very, very funny. Like I said, you have been warned.