How does a man who is already stretched thin by his network television demands expect to develop his live-action film debut properly? Seth MacFarlane has answered the challenge by bringing to the big screen his newest creation, Ted, a movie that is primed to become this summer’s sleeper hit, giving the film world a new comedic director to keep an eye out for in the future. Ted (voiced by MacFarlane) is a teddy bear brought to life on Christmas Day 1985 by a lonely boy’s wish. That boy, John Bennett, grows up to be a 35-year-old loser (played as an adult by Mark Wahlberg) with a dead-end job and a beautiful girlfriend, Lori (Mila Kunis). After helping Ted find a job and move into his own apartment, the couple is approached by Donny (Giovanni Ribisi), a creepy fan who has been infatuated with Ted since he was a child. He offers to purchase the bear from John for his own son. Though he’s repeatedly turned down, Donny refuses to take no for an answer.
With his feature film debut, MacFarlane manages to not only hit a comedic home run, but to also hand Universal a potential franchise in the guise of the lovable Ted. MacFarlane calls upon his roster of voice actors to flesh out the supporting roles in Ted. Matt Walsh and Patrick Warburton bring a solid veteran presence as John’s co-workers at a car rental business, relying on their years of sitcom and sketch work to flesh out characters who only have a handful of lines each. Patrick Stewart uses his theatrical training to good effect as the film’s narrator, lending an air of confidence to the proceedings. Even Sam Jones (Flash Gordon) is brought out of the mothballs to nearly steal the entire film in an extended cameo. With a directing style more than a little reminiscent of Will Ferrell’s longtime creative partner Adam McKay (Anchorman), MacFarlane breathes life into characters that would be caricatures under another filmmaker’s direction. With 2012 shaping up to be a fairly lackluster year in film, it isn’t difficult to suggest that Ted is a contender to be one of the funniest comedies released this year.
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Teddy Bear Picnic