Ted Review: If Seth MacFarlane Drives Up to You in a Windowless Panel Van and Offers You Candy, Accept It and Get In
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Ted Review: If Seth MacFarlane Drives Up to You in a Windowless Panel Van and Offers You Candy, Accept It and Get In

By Dustin Rowles | Film Reviews | June 29, 2012 | Comments ()


The five hardest things I've ever had to admit as a film reviewer are: 1) That I really liked In the Valley of Elah during the phase in which I literally thought Paul Haggis was Satan's Vagina; 2) that I thought Katherine Heigl -- Haggis' successor as Satan's Vagina -- was the only redeeming part of One for the Money; 3) that I didn't hate Michael Bay's The Island; 4) that Charming Potato makes me swoon; and 5) that I not only enjoyed, but I laughed -- at times, hysterically -- at Seth MacFarlane's Ted.

I know, right? A juvenile goddamn movie about a foul-mouthed, pot-smoking, sex-hungry teddy bear written, directed, and starring (as the voice of Ted) television's cock-barnacle, Seth MacFarlane? You don't have to tell me how moronic that sounds. I don't need a lecture on what is and is not acceptable humor. You don't have to tell me that farts aren't funny. I don't need to be reminded of the pus-filled boil that MacFarlane is on the hairy-ass of comedy. You don't think I don't know that? Fuck you, I KNOW. I've been doing this for eight goddamn years, and I can tell what's appropriate and what is offensive, and Seth MacFarlane is offensive. Offensive to comedy, offensive to humanity, and offensive to rectal cancer.

But I still laughed. At least once every other minute through the first hour of Ted. I don't know what happened. Seth MacFarlane is a rung above Tucker Max on date-rape scale of comedy and I can't be certain that MacFarlane isn't sneaking roofies into the concessions at every movie theater in America. All I know is that if there was a violation of my anal cavity, I must have enjoyed it because two hours after I walked into the theater, my stomach was hurting, which either meant I laughed a lot or MacFarlane's dick punctured through my abdomen.

Look: There's no point in my trying to explain the plot. It's about a goddamn teddy bear who comes to life after an eight-year-old suburban Boston kid makes a wish on a shooting star, so it's not like we're dealing with a lot of logic and realism here, boys and girls. That kid grows up to John (Mark Wahlberg), a big-hearted, pot-smoking layabout who works at a rental car agency and managed somehow to snag the smoking-hot VP of a public relations agency, Lori (Mila Kunis). Guess what the catch is? The goddamn Teddy Bear is cock-blocking their four-year relationship. That's basically the movie: Lori tells John to make Ted move out so that John can grow the fuck up, but John keeps backsliding into his bromance with the shit-talking Ruxpin until Lori leaves his ass, at which point John and Ted have to do something to win her back. Plus, there's a Teddy-Bear stalker subplot featuring Giovanni Ribisi doing his best impression of a Axl Rose-cum Buffalo Bill with a pedostache. That's it. Seth MacFarlane's plot is about as lucid as sundowning Alzheimer's patient after a six-pack of Zima.

But for some goddamn reason, the jokes that glue together that hairy hot box of a plot work. That has everything to do with some great pop-culture zingers and Mark Wahlberg's chemistry WITH A FUCKING TEDDY BEAR. The two riff off of one another brilliantly, and there's a surprisingly deep well with which to mine when it comes to horny anthropomorphic fuck bears with a deep and abiding love of marijuana. It doesn't hurt that Ted also features the best non-speaking, 10-second cameo of all time, and a Flash Gordon sequence that will fucking go down on your funny bone and fondle your testicles. Mila Kunis is serviceable -- she's not asked a lot to do except look gorgeous, and if you're looking for a more fully-dimensional female character, you have to remind yourself that you're watching A SETH MACFARLANE MOVIE.

Of course, it wouldn't be a Seth MacFarlane comedy if he weren't making offensive jokes about someone, and in Ted that includes Asians, blacks, gays, Adam Sandler, Taylor Lautner, Boston women, Quincy women, and fat people. There were probably some other jokes directed at other targets but I couldn't hear them over the sound of my laughter.

This is not a proud day for me. I don't like admitting that I found a Seth MacFarlane comedy funny, nor conceding that MacFarlane actually earned the laughter with idiotic, off-the-wall comedy that almost feels fresh after five years of Apatow, Rogen, and Sandler. MacFarlane isn't hiding behind a brand of comedy that mines male insecurity and pathos for laughs; he's making dick-and-fart jokes, transparently, unabashedly, and successfully. What's even more unsettling is the fact that there's some genuine heart at the center of Ted, that the relationship between Marky Mark and A TEDDY BEAR feels authentic and sweet. It's a great fuck-you comedy, as in: Fuck you if you can't take a joke. If you get hung up on political correctness, on the subject material, on the fucking teddd bear, on your inability to laugh at a well-executed fart joke, or your disdain for Seth MacFarlane, don't worry. All you'll be missing is the funniest comedy of the summer.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Beau Hajavitch

    Nominated for best fight at next year's MTV Movie Awards will be Mark Wahlberg vs. Ted and Total Recall's Beil vs. Beckinsale. Besides that, 90210's Jessica Stroup has a small part as one of Mila's office friends, and in the office, she wears killer black heels. Must be great for girls that they can wear the same fuck-me pumps to both the office AND da club nowadays.

  • Frank Booth

    American Dad is one of the most insanely funny thing I have ever watched. The Christmas episode where the family kills what they think is a mall Santa and the one where they roast Roger had me laugh till I gasped for air.

  • Bolynn

    This looks funny.

  • Jess

    MacFarlane is a 40 year old who dates 19 years olds. His humor doesn't shock or surprise me. Nonetheless, I'll probably go see this.

  • Whorish Mouth

    "... Axl Rose-cum Buffalo Bill with a pedostache"
    Perfect. Now to read the rest of the review.

  • ,

    Also what the hell is going on with movies this year? A man and his beaver hand puppet ... a man and his Teddy Bear. What's next, a man and his My Little Pony?

  • ,

    Umm ... summer just started last week.

    "In the Valley of Elah" is a very good movie.

    As for Zima: Do you have a stash? A lady of my acquaintance has been going through withdrawal for years and would probably do unspeakably pleasurable things to me for a six-pack.

  • kirbyjay

    Why the hate on MacFarlane, Aniston, Roberts, Heigl, etc......
    These people have fans, actually bring something to the table, usually earn some of their money, probably pay their taxes and are kind to old ladies. Focus your hate on those that deserve it. Fame Whore Kardashians, anyone that ever rented a house on the Jersey shore and had a camera implanted, Moose killin Sarah Palin and her arch conservative brethren and followers, Adam Sandler ( oh how I fuckin hate Adam Sandler, bitch is from NH and he's a Yankees and Jets fan. WTF!!! Plus he's not now or has ever been the slightest bit amusing).
    Any and all bachelors and batchelorettes and Rush Limburgher.
    That said, I was concerned for Ted because the trailers didn't look that funny ( or I've seen them too many times) but I'm psyched to hear that the movie is good. Love Marky Mark, love Mila, and even though the bear sounds like Peter Griffin, I love furry little animals.,

  • Chich

    This is not a proud day for me. I don’t like admitting that I found a
    Seth MacFarlane comedy funny, nor conceding that MacFarlane actually earned the laughter with idiotic, off-the-wall comedy that almost feels fresh after five years of Apatow, Rogen, and Sandler.

    Wait...Adam Sandler was funny five years ago? pretty sure it's been longer than that.

  • Adrien

    Marky Mark is a funny guy. He's fun to watch in comedies like Ted, The Other Guys, Date Night, The Happening.

  • polly

    This makes me wonder if Seth McFarlane ever saw "Puppets Who Kill" (television show) -- Ted sounds and looks like a combination of Rocko and Buttons.


  • I have a selfish question: How is the actress that plays Tami-Lynn? She's a friend from my old acting class. I'm happy to see her booking larger projects - yay Jessica! - but damn curious about how she is in this...

  • poptorch

    I liked "The Island" too. <3

  • Green Lantern

    "Did you know that he's re-incarnating Carl Sagan's Cosmos: A Personal Voyage series with Neil deGrasse Tyson as the host?"

    That alone should give him all the slack, ever.

  • Bernardo Leyte Cortés

    why not have chemistry with a non-existant thing, like paul

  • DarthCorleone

    I don't care if it's any good. I still hope that Snuggles the fabric softener bear sues MacFarlane for defamation and thus destroys the entire Family Guy empire with the lawsuit.

  • David Sorenson

    I feel like this is some kind of trick. A test. Admiral Ackbar is going to pop up and yell, "IT'S A TRAP!!" when I buy the ticket but it'll be too late for me and a death star wiffle ball is gonna hit me square in the nuts after I take my seat. Like the time I trusted my previous movie reviewer and went to see Scream 3, which I think caused my divorce.

    She never let me forget how I told her that I'd read it was good. Couldn't pick a movie for years.

    Now this. I just don't know. I've been burned before. So many bad relationships. Movies I never should have watched. Things that cannot be unseen. Do I dare trust again? Go against my instincts and see a movie because of a review?

    Meh. Why the heck not.

  • Sanity Fair

    Don't do it! I was on the fence, due to much scorning of Seth MacFarlane's super-recycled and overworked brand of comedy, but this review convinced me to see it. I WANT TO BELIEVE! Sadly, I did not laugh uproariously throughout as expected, and the bits I found funniest (the Wahlberg name list) had already been in the trailers. BOO!

  • David Sorenson

    *steps off the fence and backs away slowly*

    The white trash names was the only bit I thought was funny in the trailer........better keep my eight bucks.

  • LwoodPDowd

    Wow Dustin, you actually do have a sense of humor? In all of your previous reviews of comedy movies, your complaints always focused on the type of humor, not whether a movie was funny or not. The focus of a joke is not what matters, what matters is whether the joke works. Since all your reviews seem to focus on the type of joke, I just assumed you were incapable of determining if a joke worked or not. I get so sick of the constant complaints on this site about movies and shows that most of the jokes are just about how fat someone is or they are nothing but crude humor. Most of humor in John Candy movies were simply focused on how fat he was. The difference between him and Kevin James, Candy was funny. Dick and fart jokes can be funny. Simple slapstick can be funny. Do the jokes work? That should be the focus of your reviews.

  • special snowflake

    Alex, if you see that proofreader, send him down here, ok?

  • LwoodPDowd

    Sorry about that, cleaned it up a bit, my grammar and spelling still suck, but better.

  • zeke_the_pig

    Well now, this surprises me about as much as that time that I did a No. 2, turned around and just before flushing glimpsed a swan smiling up at me.

  • Celery Man

    I know I never actually told you, Dustin, but I FUCKING TOLD YOU.

  • Candee

    I actually thought one of the previews was hilarious. The bit where Marky Mark (or whatever) was naming all the white trash names as a "speed round."

    I'm surprised at how funny you say it actually is. I may actually have to watch it.

  • googergieger

    Not offensive. Just boring. Cartoon Wars basically hit the nail on the head. Anyways grats on liking his movie. I'm sure the in your face, take no prisoners, punk rock x-core comedy brand that is Macfarlane was life changing.

    "If you get hung up on political correctness, on the subject material, on the fucking teddd bear,
    on your inability to laugh at a well-executed fart joke, or your
    disdain for Seth MacFarlane, don’t worry. All you’ll be missing is the
    funniest comedy of the summer."

    Next time just do what I do with Kung Pow: Enter The Fist. It is beyond stupid, but it makes me laugh. No matter how many times I see it. Don't become a teenage dirt bag, baby, that thinks nobody understands you or the things you like. They(we) get it. They(we) just don't like it.

  • Jezzer

    Seth McFarlane strikes me as a comedic try-hard, but you have to compare that to someone like Adam Sandler, who stopped trying a long time ago. I feel like I'm in an anonymous confessional group when I say this, but... DAMMIT, I LAUGH AT FAMILY GUY SOMETIMES TOO.

  • Jenne Frisby

    Great! I know I'll look forward to seeing this with my dad. Also, I'm not sure what Seth McFarlane did *as a person* to receive as much loathing as Scientology, Lindsey Lohan, Kim Kardashian, and Roman Polanski combined. He's always seemed pretty charming (if occasionally smarmy) in interviews, close with his parents, and most importantly, fond of science. Did you know that he's re-incarnating Carl Sagan's Cosmos: A Personal Voyage series with Neil deGrasse Tyson as the host? Also, he just bought all of Sagan's academic journals and letters and donated them to the Library of Congress... and he didn't go out and announce how much he paid for them. I think you need to relax a little, Dustin. (And I'm glad you had a good time.)

  • Gregory Allen

    It feels like MacFarlane really wants to break out of something. Family Guy was awesome in the first three seasons. It mixed crass and mid-brow humor well. It had quick jokes at a lightning pace with likable characters. From season 4 on, it became this mixture of unfunny Scary Movie-esque pop culture references, self-indulgent five minute improv routines, and completely unlikable characters.

    American Dad is great. If not for the good jokes, then at least it has the Workaholics style of just being able to think up the weirdest plots and somehow making them work. I've never watched Cleveland. I assume there are lots of black jokes.

    If I find something really funny, I usually smile and let slip a "heh." Ted had me crying I was laughing so hard, especially during the "white trash name" bit which was impressive on Wahlberg's part.

    I just want to see MacFarlane be happy with what he's putting out. It feels like he just leaves Family Guy and Cleveland for someone else, and American Dad isn't living up to its potential. Maybe just getting out of animation will help.

  • hapl0

    Jeez, get a room you two.

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    I find it amusing that you rail against McFarlane's juvenile humour while making so many sodomy jokes that you actually made me think it might be a fun way to spend the afternoon.

  • stryker1121

    I thought this was a Prisco review myself. I scrolled back up the page to double-check.

  • Bert_McGurt

    How is it that Sodom got all the lasting flak for being the prime example of hedonism? Gommorah was just as guilty! Why don't they call it gommorarhea or something? Give that town the lack of credit it deserves!

  • AlabasterSalamander

    "Gommorarhea" might be the best thing I've read all week.

  • simple ladies

    Sodom's catchier?

  • Jezzer


  • Nadine

    This will get me burned at the stake but as much as I do hate, haaaaate McFarlane...I still laugh at Family Guy. I can't help it.

    Also one episode of American Dad recently, which was basically McFarlane's way of processing the death of his dog, actually got me right in the heart. No tears, but I was sniffling. I kind of want to see Ted.

  • Mary

    Oh man, I remember that episode. Not as heartbreaking as Futurama's Jurassic Bark, but pretty damn close.

  • nadineydoll-which episode was that? i've most of american dad, and i can't seem to figure out which episode you're referring to.

  • Mijo

    Has anyone seen MacFarlanes singing special on Netflix? He sings Sinatra and stuff like that. Its a little absurd. I thought it was. Because who is that for?

  • Lisa

    I haven't seen that Netflix special (nor will I), but I actually think he has a nice voice. I was surprised to learn it was actually McFarlane singing as Brian Griffin.

    I bet it does seem weird though, because he's boxed himself in as the Family Guy guy. But I still like Family Guy, and I also watch his other two shows.

  • Nadine

    I've seen that. I think that was just for Seth.

  • Alex

    I think this review could use another proof-reader...

  • akak

    Saw this at a screening a couple of weeks back, and I am going to see it again because of all the jokes I missed from laughing so hard.

  • blacksred

    Ok now this is starting to get a little weird. This is the second review from this site today where i was looking forward to the bitchy and scathing and instead got an endorsement. Did the aliens that 21% of america said they would call The Hulk on takeover?

  • John G.

    Hey bear! Say hi to your motha for me!

  • It makes me happy to hear you liked this, but anyone who is a fan of "American Dad" will be completely unsurprised to hear that this movie is hilarious. Forget what you think you know about MacFarlane's work, Rowles, and catch up on that show. It's on Netflix. The first season is a little rough but stick with it. It's one of the funniest, most absurd comedies on tv right now.

  • I love American Dad. The first episode I watched was when Stan kept competing with his neighbor over who had the scariest haunted house and ended up displaying actual serial killers in his home.

    And Mark Wahlberg was so funny in The Other Guys that I can't help but be excited whenever he's in a comedy now.

  • Jen

    American Dad is genius. If you can watch the Hot Tub episode and not come away thinking it's one of the best comedies on TV I don't know what to tell ya except you have no sense of humor. Period.

  • Nadine

    Yup. I'm not a fan of Mcfarlane as a person but Family Guy is still a show I love and I do watch the odd American Dad. I hate Roger, SO much but a lot of the rest makes me chuckle.

    The episode about his dead dog was fucking legitimately sad as shit and I actually loved it.

  • Slash

    Great ... my first one disappeared. WTF?

    Anyway, I saw part of a MacFarlane interview on some show a few days ago (Conan?) and he seemed pleasant enough. The interview didn't suck, though I can't for the life of me remember what either of them said. And I don't watch his shows, have tried to watch one of them (the one with the baby that talks like an adult) a couple times and it's just not funny. But whatever, stupid people deserve comedy too, I guess.

  • Some Guy

    Wait, because some people find something funny that you don't they are stupid?

    How does that work, exactly?

  • Slash

    Yeah, that's what I'm saying.

  • special snowflake

    Gee, Slash, I don't know what part of "stupid people deserve comedy too" Some Guy needed clarification on - you sure can call 'em..

  • Slash

    I'll clarify, what the hell: sometimes comedy is not very good (ie, not funny) but simply because it involves farts or poop or fag jokes or jokes about fat people or is just really super-obvious observations that are not clever or funny, but just really obvious, dumb people think it's funny. Dumb people often guffaw at stuff that isn't funny because they're mean and like making fun of other people and/or comedy that isn't dumb confuses them. Some not-dumb people may think comedy that isn't very good is funny, too. But that doesn't mean it actually IS funny. Obviously, all this is just my opinion, so feel free to laugh at whatever the fuck you want to, I really don't care.

    There, I hope "Some Guy" feels better now. You're not necessarily stupid. Congratulations.

  • Slash

    Your resistance has been damaged by years of exposure to Adam Sandler and Eddie Murphy movies. It's not your fault.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    You forgot the tearful, slower reiteration:

    *between sobs* It's. Not. Your. Fault.

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