“Ted” is directed by Seth MacFarlane, screenplay by Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild.

I was curious to see not only Seth MacFarlane’s directorial film début but also how on earth they would explain the concept of a real-live talking teddy bear. Actually, how they handle it isn’t bad at all – a teddy-bear comes to life as a result of a boy’s childhood Christmas wish and then the story picks up when the boy is a 35-year-old man and the teddy-bear still lives with him and the man’s girl-friend of four years.

As absurd as the premise is, the movie treats it quite straight and seeks laughs in other ways. Fans of MacFarlane’s TV series “Family Guy”, will recognize popular devices: cut-aways, flash-backs, absurd fight sequences, fantastical montages. Unfortunately, what works to great effect in a half-hour animated serial doesn’t always work well in a two-hour life-action movie and someone would have been wise to guide MacFarlane into not relying so much on his tired and true standbys.

This could have been a “Family Guy” episode and at times, actually felt like at any moment the credits should roll.

I did enjoy the numerous 80s reference, notable “Flash Gordon”, but I’m not sure that this kind of running gag worked to any great effect and, from audience murmurs it seemed that many people lacked the reference to get many of the jokes.

The film also seemed to struggle with tone – at times there were some lovely heart-felt moments and in others decisive raunchiness and rudeness – giving to a over-all uneven and unfinished feel.

If you are a fan of “Family Guy”, you won’t be disappointed, but you can pretty much seeing this on a large screen – there is nothing special happening the cinematography that warrants it so you can see it at home on your small(er) screen and save a few dollars. It will also make you wonder why MacFarlane bothered making a film when he could have just made 4 “Family Guy” episodes with the same premise.

 

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