In cinemas now
TED (15) Seth Macfarlane is the creator of one of the most successful animated sitcoms in the world: Family Guy. It's tanked up there with The Simpsons & South Park. He is an extraordinarily talented guy - not only providing most of the main voices of his characters but also a pitch perfect singer, which he puts to good effect in his show. Family Guy remains the only programme to have been cancelled by a network twice, and then brought back after a huge rise in DVD sales and public demand. He followed this up with American Dad, and the more recent The Cleveland Show. It seemed only a matter of time before he made it on to the big screen, and the result is his directorial debut with live action comedy, Ted.
John is a lonely little boy who nobody wants to play with, so one Christmas Eve he makes a wish that his Teddy bear, Teddy, would be real. Amazingly this actually comes true. Some 20 years later John (Mark Wahlberg) is still living with Ted (voiced by Seth Macfarlane), generally going nowhere with his life, usually smoking dope and missing work. This is starting to get on his girlfriend Lori's (Mia Klunis) nerves and on their 4th anniversary she suggests that in order for them to move on their lives Ted has to move out. Despite Ted agreeing to this, they still seem to spend all their time together and things reach breaking point between Lori & John, when he ditches her at a company party to go to Ted's housewarming instead. In the meantime Ted is having to deal with a creepy stalker who wants him to be his Teddy Bear instead.
If you are a fan of Family Guy, then you will enjoy this film. It's filled with lots of wisecracks and aside jokes that break up the flow of the narrative, which if you're not used to, you may find annoying. It falls into one of those categories of films which had a brilliant idea - what would happen if your childhood bear came to life and then grew up with you - but it's hard to sustain for a feature length film, It is enjoyable, and generally funny but McFarlane is relying on people to know his work to enjoy the film. Family Guy succeeds because it is animated, but the live action side to this film makes it come across as a bit too puerile in places. It's definitely not one for the children, but perfectly entertaining, if a bit crass in places.
6/10 Andrew Shepherd