Thursday, September 27, 2012
Ted (Seth MacFarlane, 2012) -- C+
Carrying the baton for arrested development even further, MacFarlane takes John (Mark Wahlberg), an almost forty (!) used car salesman that still enjoys palling around and taking bong rips with Ted (Seth MacFarlane), a pint-sized, talking teddy bear that has been John's BFF since childhood, to half-heartedly explore the tug-and-pull between adulthood and adolescence. Problem is, serious girlfriend (and wasted presence) Lori (Mila Kunis) wants to put a ring on it - of course John, with his continued proclivity for blowing life opportunities, isn't sure if he's ready to make the commit. None of this is enacted with much conviction - rather, an excuse to make allusions to Airplane (1980), innumerable pop cultural figures (that predictably run an eclectic gamut from Norah Jones to Tom Skerritt) and even has Flash Gordon's Sam Jones show up for a good, old-fashioned coke binge. Chuckle-worthy stuff, certainly, just as the prolonged, hotel-room smackdown between John and Ted earns its laughs. Nevertheless - outside of the moment (composition-wise, MacFarlane does little), where does Ted's resonance lie? Obviously, it struck a major chord with audiences and, to this point, is the highest grossing comedy of 2012. Beyond the box office tally, however, where will Ted be in a decade? Two? Much like the films of Judd Apatow, Ted's absolute concern with pop cultural past and present, rather than fine-tuning a comedic mechanism, surely signals its long term insignificance - as forgettable as an SNL "Weekend Update" from December 6, 1980 - the weekend of Flash Gordon's release.