Monday, December 17, 2012

Flash Gordon fans: do yourself a favor and watch Ted

Mad Magazine knows what's up

I'm not the biggest fan of Family Guy. The last time I saw it I was in a bar and couldn't even hear it. Yet I occasionally see creator Seth MacFarlane in interviews and think, "He's a surprisingly intelligent guy." What really impressed me was his love for science as well as his involvement with the Cosmos reboot, which will hand Carl Sagan's torch to Neil deGrasse Tyson. He's also an outspoken fan of Star Trek so he must be pretty cool, right?


So I bit the bullet and watched Ted. As narrator Patrick Stewart tells us in the opening reel, Ted was a celebrity when his story swept the world: there is a living, breathing teddy bear living among us. He became so famous he even appeared on Johnny Carson (this is done with Forrest Gump-like special effects). "But people eventually ceased to give a shit." Fast forward several years later and Wahlberg is a thirty-five year old with a shit job who's trying to keep his relationship with Mila Kunis from falling apart. Meanwhile, he still clings to his living teddy bear who sounds suspiciously like Peter Griffin and smokes a ton of pot.

You've seen the trailers. Whereas a lot of comedies spoil the funniest parts in the ads, Ted's redband trailer opts to show most of its raunchiest moments instead. That's practically all the raunch in the movie. What's so surprising about Ted is the fact it's a pleasant, unoffensive movie as far as modern comedies go. Don't get me wrong. There are plenty of politically incorrect jokes and fart humor, but it's far less offensive than, say, anything with Kevin James in it. In fact, the movie was so easy to digest, I wasn't even sure I liked it...

Until about halfway through the movie.


Ted and Wahlberg's love for Flash Gordon manifests itself in a series of scenes that had me rolling. I don't want to give it away, but I found myself saying to the screen, "Holy shit! It's really... I can't believe... holy shit!" I have a feeling if it weren't for my own love for Flash Gordon (my childhood cat's name was Flash), I wouldn't have liked Ted nearly as much as I did. At the end of the day it's a pretty basic comedy, but that's not the review it deserves. Even the average cookie-cutter screenplay can be done well and MacFarlane (or his script doctors) prove as much.

People expecting MacFarlane's typical Family Guy humor probably won't be nearly as pleased as I was, but if you're a fan of Flash Gordon, be sure to check it out.

Have you seen it? What'd you think? Spoilers allowed in the comments.

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