This is a movie about a talking teddy bear. But it isn’t the new Disney family movie. It’s an unfunny vulgar comedy starring Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis. Mark pays a thirty-something stoner whose best friend is a teddy bear who came to life one Christmas. Mila is Mark’s long-suffering girlfriend who is getting tired of living with the bear.
The film’s idea of humour is basically an endless festival of nastiness and tired pop-culture references. Haven’t we got past the stage where random mentions of twitter and the credit crunch, discriminatory humour and excessive drug abuse is funny?
Gross-out humour and crude jokes can be funny. Bridesmaids, for example, demonstrated how sick comedy can be awesome comedy. Ted, however, throws in constant sleaze in attempts to get laughs. The humour hits rock bottom fairly early on when people with Parkinson’s disease become targets for throwaway jokes. This type of thing isn’t funny. It’s pathetic and desperate.
Seth McFarlane, who voices the title character and co-wrote and directed the film, is a self-confessed supporter of gay equality. Perhaps he sees this as his get-out-of-jail-free card so he can pepper his content with casual homophobia.
Not content with making fun of gay people, the film dabbles in some light racism (under the oh-so-convenient guise of making fun of bigotry) and sexism. There is also an overwhelming sense of class snobbery about the whole thing.
Of course, the film isn’t meant to be taken too seriously – it’s about a talking teddy bear – but any irony that could have been harvested from the bad-taste jokes falls very flat. In fact, the most effective piece of irony in the film is unintentional; Ted describes Adam Sandler comedy Jack & Jill as ‘awful’ and ‘unwatchable’ – two words that feel very appropriate here.
Though the film has managed to convince some ordinary, decent cinemagoers that it is worth watching, Ted seems hand-crafted to appeal to people who enjoy wrecking their brains with (allegedly soft) drugs and still think using the word ‘gay’ in a negative context is acceptable. In a word, idiots.
Ted, directed by Seth McFarlane, is released on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK by Universal Pictures, Certificate 15.