Movies are currently low on my list of priorities & I don’t pay much attention to what’s coming out, so when my We Talk Wrestling co-host Addie told me he had tickets to see a preview of Ted I asked him what it was and he told me it was the first major motion picture from Seth MacFarlane.
I know Addie is a regular viewer of Family Guy but I felt the show stopped being something I had interest in when Brian and Stewie were locked in the bank vault together. I stayed with it until the premiere episode of the ninth season but when And Then There Were Fewer aired I just knew it wasn’t for me any more, I felt like MacFarlane was listening to the criticism of Trey Parker and Matt Stone in their South Park episode Cartoon Wars and now instead of providing me with a great half hour of laughs Family Guy was trying to prove it could be more, and failing, at least for me. I just wanted to laugh, but it wasn’t as funny. In fact I felt that American Dad was the far superior show at this point, but with the decline of The Simpsons and the fact I never really grooved to anything else Fox was airing in the Sunday night time slot (i.e. Cleveland Show) I just stopped watching altogether. This was one of the last straws in getting me to stop watching TV regularly also, as much like films my interest shifted elsewhere.
So when Addie told me it was a MacFarlane film with Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis I can’t say I got too excited. Addie told me to watch the trailer he had seen with him. We went on YouTube and saw the Red Band Trailer which he also hadn’t seen and for 3 minutes I laughed like I hadn’t in a long time.
We ended up watching it I believe 4 times.
I would recommend you do the same rather than go see it in the theatres.
Don’t get me wrong, not all the funniest parts are in that trailer, but a lot of them are. And the film suffers from a lot of problems, but for me the biggest is that when there isn’t a huge laugh there aren’t enough small chuckles to keep the momentum going.
The film introduces several characters out of context as to who they are and what their relationship with the protagonists is. And some of these characters seem to have ticks that make you want to know more, but you don’t get an explanation of that, so it’s just distracting, and then you don’t see them again.
Plot points are also brought up then ignored, people rarely act logically to the situations based on previous actions, strange twists to characters happen (the main villain could have been a frightening and interesting character leading to an exciting climax, but then MacFarlane makes him suddenly do something silly and you don’t take him seriously anymore).
The casting sort of works and sort of doesn’t. Kunis has a fine screen presence in Ted but MacFarlane must hate writing for her as this character is just as bland as her Family Guy character Meg. Wahlberg is charming and shows surprisingly strong comedic instincts but it’s hard to picture him as an adult to the child actor portraying him as a loser when he was young or as the slacker he is in the film with the Hollywood looks and body that looks like it works out 4 hours a day without some reasoning behind it. It just feels odd. Patrick Warburton steals every scene he’s in but of course that’s not many.
These are issues MacFarlane has always had, but in the context of a fast paced half hour TV show they are hidden. Here they aren’t, and despite being a funny movie with some big laughs it’s just not very good, and as we left the film representatives were asking people if they liked it and would recommend it? The 2 answers I heard most often to those questions were “it’s alright” and “maybe” which I’m sure is not what the studio was hoping to hear.
Never the less, I think MacFarlane is a very talented guy, and I have a sense the film has good buzz based off the trailer being so funny and will do very well, which I’m glad of, because I appreciate that MacFarlane tried to make an adult comedy with heart, even if he didn’t fully succeed. And given a few more tries I think he could evolve and get it right and give us a truly terrific film down the road, this just isn’t it.
So I don’t recommend you go and watch the film, but I do recommend you click here and watch that Red Band Trailer multiple times