Ten year old playground outcast, John (Wahlberg), wishes that his teddy bear, Ted (McFarlane), could come to life and be the friend that he never had. His wish comes true and a couple of decades later, John and Ted’s pact to be friends for life is stronger than ever much to the chagrin of John’s long term girlfriend Lori (Kunis). She happens to be of the opinion that this relationship, which consists mainly of getting stoned, is keeping her guy from growing up and acting like the adult that he is. As Ted’s hijinks reach a level no longer tolerable by Lori, John’s forced to choose between his best friend and his girlfriend; a matter further complicated by a psychopath who’s just dying to make Ted his own.

 

Ted is very similar to pretty much every other R-rated comedy out there with the added twist that the protagonist’s man-child status manifests in the form of his teddy bear sidekick. There’s a giggling twelve year old inside this reviewer that’s immensely happy that this film got made, what with the cute, fuzzy teddy getting stoned, humping a cash register and fellating an ice lolly - not necessarily all at the same time. But, subtract that sense of novelty from the equation and the film you’re left with is quite average. These comedies - as in anything with Judd Apatow’s imprint on it - generally share a ton of the same DNA and rely on the same themes for their humour (sex, drugs, farts) - but this one seems even more familiar than the usual, not to mention it’s basically an excuse for a cute teddy to act dirty; the humans largely play second fiddle to their animated counterpart.

 

Ted suffers mainly from a case of a film’s concept being better than its execution. There are glimpses of hilarity in there; some of the jokes connect hard and there are some seriously awesome cameos, but it’s just not enough to carry the entire film which plays more like a bunch of poorly connected, very funny skits than a cohesive film. The actors are very entertaining; Ribisi as the aforementioned psychopath (has he ever played a character that isn’t seriously unhinged?), is a particular highlight and equal parts creepy and hilarious. Kunis and Wahlberg, however, aren’t served as well by the material. The former is shunted into a harping girlfriend role, while the latter is a classic man-child who, thankfully, is graced with a touch of self-awareness. Their relationship, however, lacks believability and as a result, you really couldn’t care less about whether they make it as a couple or not. Then there’s John’s relationship with Ted, which while served well by the brilliant animation, twists and turns with the dictates of the flimsy story and isn’t nearly as emotional as it could and should have been.

 

Ted is cool if you solely want to laugh, but with the number of great comedies that have come out recently that both crack you up and tug at your heartstrings; it’s a pretty underwhelming experience.