As a child of the 1980s, I am conditioned to appreciate that era’s nostalgia. Throw in references from Indiana Jones to Tiffany and I am amused and comforted. The recently released comedy Ted is an episode of I Love the 80s drenched in Mountain Dew and jammed full of pop rocks. It is ceaseless, gives you an incredible high, and ultimately signifies nothing, but boy did I laugh a lot.
Unlike the uneven episodes of Family Guy, writer/director/star Seth MacFarlane has found a way to entertain and offend for a more general audience. With incredibly appealing stars, a creative premise, and a relatively predictable storyline, the tale of a living teddy bear, his 35-year-old boyhood friend (Mark Wahlberg) and his girlfriend (Mila Kunis who voices Meg on Family Guy) works. The 106 minute running time is a bit too stretched for MacFarlane to maintain the level of humor while still furthering the plot. But it is never dull. I don’t remember (used literally here) laughing out loud as much in a comedy in a long time.
Family Guy is often funny, but sometimes it was simply a bully poking you in the eye with a pointy stick (or an extended fight with a giant chicken). I stopped watching the show after an episode that failed by both criticizing violence against women and mocking it. Ted is also crude, but the barbs are much softer. If you laugh at the jokes about the Jewish kid in the first 30 seconds of the film, you’ll be fine. And then you’ll laugh…with a number of agreeable gaps…and laugh more.