Home > Movie Reviews > Thunder buddies for life: on childishness and uncomfortable humor in Ted

Thunder buddies for life: on childishness and uncomfortable humor in Ted

When I heard the premise of the movie, I was very skeptical of it having any chance of being good.  Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy, directs and voices Ted, the story of a teddy bear come to life to be a little boy’s best friend.  Fast-forward 27 years, and they are both grown up.  Ted is incredibly crude, has absolutely no sense of limit, and is overall a pretty terrible bear.  Ted and John (Mark Wahlberg) like to stay home, get high, and watch Flash Gordon.  What else would you expect from MacFarlane?

What’s most (or least?) surprising is the humor in the movie.  There are jokes that are just so terrible, one can hardly imagine them being written, much less broadcasted in a (packed) movie theatre.  Is humor the answer to barriers in society?  By making fun of something entirely not PC, does that make people more okay with touchy subjects?  I don’t really think MacFarlane is trying to push a more progressive and open outlook on life with his style of humor, but there’s something underneath the cheap laughs that’s actually sort of optimistic.  There are moments that are entirely random, that come out of nowhere, and catch you off guard.  I’m not sure how much I would have laughed had I watched this by myself, but as it was, the audience was roaring with laughter more often than not.  There are quite a few bits that are over-the-top, reminiscent of Harold and Kumar, but the funniest moments are all in snappy conversations that make very little sense, really.

The plot is simple: Lori (Mila Kunis) wants John to grow up, which he can’t do when their third roommate is a gruff, hard-partying teddy bear.  John loves Lori, but hasn’t outgrown his childish mindset, despite being 35.  Also, bros before hos.  The relationship turmoil is surprisingly believable, and although the territory is familiar chick-flick ground, throwing a talking bear into the mix made things interesting.

What is Ted?  Is he the personification of childishness?  Is he the perfect lifelong bro?  Why did it feel like this movie seemed more realistic than it should have?  Also, I feel so old, because this is exactly the kind of movie that seems like it should be for kids, but is entirely not.  Having watched Pixar’s Brave yesterday, I cannot imagine two more dissimilar movies both about bears (thanks to Weixia for pointing that out!).

In his 3.5/4 review, Roger Ebert called Ted the funniest movie of the year, adding, “I know, this also was hard for me to believe.”  Though I haven’t watched many comedies this year, I have to say that Ted completely exceeded my (albeit very low) expectations.  Anyway, it was loads better than The Dictator.

Overall, 4/5 – I really can’t believe I’m giving Ted such a high rating, but honestly, it was enjoyable, humorous enough, and surprisingly uplifting.

Best regards,


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