“Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane has found great success in mixing the improbable with the “real world.” “Ted” follows that same formula with the living teddy bear.
MacFarlane’s first show has Brain, a talking dog. His second, “American Dad”, has Roger the Alien. And lastly, the “Family Guy” spin-off “The Cleveland Show” has Tim the Bear.
It’s hard not to compare MacFarlane’s feature film debut to his only work, because it feels just like all of these shows.
Diehard fans of “Family Guy” will undoubtedly (there’s a pun in there) enjoy this film. “Ted” is funny in the same way “Family Guy” is with crude jokes and a few cutaways.
In fact, this feels a lot more like an extended episode of the show than it does a new piece of work. It follows the same formula as MacFarlane’s shows and even has most cast members from each show make an appearance.
Like Peter Griffin, John (Mark Wahlberg) is pretty much a loser. He’s 35 and regularly gets high with Ted (voiced by MacFarlane) if he’s not working his dead-end job at a rent-a-car center.
Like Lois Griffin, his girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis, who voices Meg on “Family Guy”) is an attractive woman who has far more going for her than her counterpart. She is a VP at a PR firm.
The film’s jokes are exactly what fans have come to enjoy from “Family Guy”, and it even includes a couple of those staple cutaways.
The film unmistakably panders to “Family Guy” fans as some jokes call out the show and even make reference to specific episodes (look out for a reference to “Stewie Goes for a Drive”).
MacFarlane continues to flaunt his vast array of obscure pop culture references that will usually date a person for knowing them. But nevertheless, young or old, it’s hard not to enjoy John and Ted’s love and virtual obsession with Flash Gordon.
“Ted” disappoints not because it isn’t funny, but because MacFarlane fails to take any risks. He may deliver the laughs to his fans, but he fails to present anything new. So, it just feels old and regurgitated.
If it’s familiar laughs you’re looking for, then you won’t be disappointed. However, “Ted” is nowhere near a pioneering comedy.