|If you're scared of thunder, don't forget to give it the finger.|
I laughed a lot while watching Ted... a whole lot. Seth MacFarlane's hit a home run on his cinematic debut. In the non-animated setting, he still evokes well-timed comic performances, especially from Mark Wahlberg. The movie certainly has it's flaws but they aren't heavy enough for me to refrain from recommending it to all who appreciate dirty R-rated comedies.
MacFarlane's talent for mocking everyday banality, dramatic cliches, and the frivolous banter of long-time buddies is in full form here. As usual he involves a being who shouldn't have the ability to talk, to deliver most of the comedy and it seems even funnier, especially now that it's live-action. His voice and personality for Ted are pretty much a less-stupid Peter Griffin from his show Family Guy and I think it works perfectly.
The downside to this movie is somewhere past the mid-point after a party scene when the film has reached it's comic peak and there's no going back. Sadly the movie loses quite a bit when MacFarlane and his co-writers seem distracted on following through with a story which no one should be emotionally invested in. MacFarlane makes this mistake on Family Guy a lot too. It's like he wants to prove that his goofy characters have heart when everything else in the story says otherwise. It's okay Seth. You don't need the story to apologize for the bad behavior of hilarious jerks. Peter Griffin and Ted are a lot funnier when they're doing the wrong thing than when they're doing the right thing.
The symbolism is clear. Mark Wahlberg is an overgrown kid who needs to step it up and get a little more serious with his long-time very tolerant girlfriend played by Mila Kunis. His inability to let go of his Teddy Bear is his inability to be a man. But this is all so simple, it's hardly worth analyzing. MacFarlane's strength has always been his insistence on telling jokes and pulling gags by any means necessary.
My bias towards MacFarlane's work is that he's clearly in love with everything my friends and I loved (or put up with) while growing up: Saturday morning cartoons, pop music, bad commercials, and every movie related to Spielberg and Lucas. This movie has so much time devoted to making fun of the 1980 film, Flash Gordon, I think the movie may be required as a prerequisite to getting this film's full humorous impact.