The bromance of a man and his teddy bear, with adult humour.
Ted Trailer, Ted and Ted photographs © Universal Studios
If you are sitting comfortably, then I’ll begin. The story of Ted (2012) begins in 1985, telling the story in a fairytale style with an occasional twist of randomness – and is narrated by Patrick Stewart (his voice was recognised by Darlin’ Husband) – of the younger John Bennett. John, an only child, is friendless with not only the bullies disliking him, but also is hated by their victims.
John’s dearest wish is to have a best friend (sob), and on Christmas morning when his friends get all their supercool pressies, he gets a teddy bear which he adores just as much. He then wishes he and his teddy could be best friends forever, in Stewart’s narration he jokes – in our house correctly – that most boys would want an Apache helicopter. As John wishes a shooting star flies soars through the sky and he wakes up to find his teddy bear is alive… His teddy is seen as a walking, talking miracle by his family and then the world as the teddy – now named Ted – becomes a celebrity.
We then flash forward to the present, where the script and plot become more random but then what do you expect from the co-writer of this piece, Seth McFarlane, also the writer of A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014) and Family Guy (1999). John has grown into a man (
Marky Mark Wahlberg) and is in a relationship with Lori (Mila Kunis).
John is still best friends with Ted (voiced by McFarlane), who is no longer famous and they are still inseparable like Chewie and Hans Solo. John works in a garage and his boss fears for his attitude and stresses a friendship with actor Tom Skerritt – from Alien (1979) or Top Gun (1986) – would be of benefit for him.
John states it is his 4th year anniversary for dating Lori, the next day and he wants to celebrate with her in style. The men in his life – including Ted – advise against proposing. So he doesn’t and gives her earrings. Lori, however, has obviously hoped for a proposal especially after that speech and the size of the present. Anyway, she feels Ted should move out of their apartment and after the shit hits the fan – or in this case floor – at home.
Ted moves out and gets a job working in a store, where he falls in love with a checkout girl named Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth). During a walk in the park with John, Donny (Giovanni Ribisi) approaches them and asks to buy Ted for his overweight son. Donny stresses menacingly and urgently, his son gets everything he wants leaving us to fear for Ted, as he starts to stalk him. So Ted moves out, and John and Ted continue to spend all their days together with John making excuses to leave work early to hang out with him.
Lori and John then attend a party run by Lori’s pretentious slimy boss – who has designs on Lori – when Ted calls John to say the actor Sam J. Jones – who played John’s film hero Flash Gordon – is attending his party. John excitedly confides with his boss he is going for a short time to meet his hero.
John meets Jones we get a montage of this showing one of the coolest bromances ever. Lori of course finds out thanks to the slimy boss who also has a liking for Tom Skerritt. As you do. She then confronts John about him leaving her boss’s party and they break up…
The film has an excellent musical score showing Seth McFarlane great love for the musicals often seen in plentiful Family Guy episodes. There are also many 1980s soundtrack references in the musical score and at appropriate times in the story such as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1984) and Flash Gordon (1980) movie theme tunes.
McFarlane’s love for the 1980s doesn’t stop there as many movies – notably Flash Gordon but also Aliens (1986), TV series such as Cheers (1982-93) and Diff’rent Strokes (1978-86), songs such as the Octopussy (1983) title theme, celebrities such as Ted Danson and even toys – remember rocking horses with wigs – lead to a knowing glance between me and Darlin’ Husband. McFarlane gently mocks them on the borderline of not being too offensive, but at a level, 1980s aficionados would understand and find amusing.
The montages are fantastic and the one featuring Sam J. Jones reprising his Flash Gordon role with Wahlberg perfect from start to finish. There are a few blink and miss non-talking cameos – one of which is already mentioned at least once in the review and the other is playing in a recently released superhero film.
McFarlane also shows an insightful – or is it learned? – journey into the female mind with the scene where Lori hopes for a proposal (which was a funny yet painful reminder for girls everywhere on anniversaries). There are references to Bridget Jones on Lori and John’s fallout (as some of us do. I for one did wallow in Helen Fielding written films at one point after a breakup).
However I – for one – would be more understanding if my Darlin Husband left a boring party to party with Sam J. Jones, in fact, I would be more upset he didn’t take me with him. The casting of Marky Mark Wahlberg often feels tongue in cheek too after his boy band, New Kid on the Block days as does Patrick Stewart narrating.
Anyway, I recommend this film as one of the most unusual of the bromance genre, between a man and his teddy bear. It’s also one to watch for those of us who remember or were brought up in the 1980s. I recommend watching the Flash Gordon film first, to spot the many, many homages to this film, as littered throughout the movie.
The film also made me wonder if this is the ending that McFarlane would have added to A.I. Artificial Intelligence, the sci-fi film where Haley Joel Osment is a robot boy also with a teddy who wants to be a real boy (more of that at a later date) and asks the Blue Fairy for this wish. This scene in A.I. ended Kubrick’s part in his then unfinished film.
I suspect that if McFarlane – not Spielberg – had taken over when Osment’s character wished to be a real boy and the Blue Fairy promised him the family and being a real boy which he craved but with a catch. The catch would be that is his teddy bear would have the same voice as Peter Griffin and the same nuances as Quagmire from Family Guy. As he – according to the male population anyway – could draw a convincing Garfield the cat.
Weeper Rating: 😦 😦 😦 😦 /10
Handsqueeze Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 /10
Hulk Rating: /10