Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ted (Rhoades)

“Ted” Is a
Fuzzy Fantasy

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Bet you like watching TV’s “The Family Guy,” that wonky animated sitcom about a dysfunctional family with a loudmouth dad, a weird kid named Stewie, and a talking dog. It’s the brainchild of Seth MacFarlane, the animation whiz who Entertainment Weekly calls “the Smartest Man on TV.”
Well, you can get more of his brainy antics this week at the movies. MacFarlane’s “Ted” is still playing at Tropic Cinema.
This comedy centers on a man and his teddy bear. Hence, the movie’s eponymous title. Seems Johnny (Mark Wahlberg) made a childhood wish that his beloved teddy bear come to life. And it did. Now the fuzzy companion’s slacker behavior is getting in the way of John having a normal life. Especially when he meets Lori (Mila Kunis).
Yes, it’s so hard to embrace adulthood.
Not only is this live-action film Seth MacFarlane’s directorial debut, he voices Ted, much as he lends speech to the zany characters on “The Family Guy.”
Born in Kent, CT, by age nine MacFarlane was drawing a weekly comic strip for the local newspaper. He went on to study animation at the Rhode Island School of Design before getting hired by Hanna-Barbara as a writer and storyboard artist. At 24, Fox Television bought his pitch for “The Family Guy,” making him the youngest executive producer on the network.
So with MacFarlane’s the success of “The Family Guy” and Mark Wahlberg’s recent Oscar nods for “The Fighter,” the two stars have little to lose with a can-you-believe-it story about a teddy bear who comes to life. Columbia Pictures is taking the bigger risk (Columbia’s president has admitted the studio makes some pretty cruddy movies) with such an off-the-wall concept.
But moviegoers seem to be embracing the silly premise.
One describes “Ted” as “so much better than what I imagined it would be.”
And movie usher Anna Young admits that she doesn’t go to movies (too much of a busman’s holiday), but she caught a screening of “Ted” because she worked at the theater. “I’m a really picky person when it comes to movies,” she says. “But I thought that it was truly won’t-stop-laughing-until-it-is-over funny.”
But a come-to-life teddy bear? “Definitely not one of the movies that left me thinking the idea was good, but they could have done so much more with it,” confesses another movie buff. “It was actually quite the opposite.”

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