I doubt we will see a funnier character on the big screen this year than Ted, the eponymous secondary protagonist of “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane’s feature-length debut. This is at first surprising for the same reason it becomes so obvious: Ted is a stuffed teddy bear, the kind you can make at a Build-A-Bear workshop and give to a five-year-old as as birthday present. But Ted is no ordinary teddy bear, for he can walk and talk and sing and smoke pot and engage in casual sex with Grammy award-winning singer-songwriters. That last one is very true, in spite of Ted’s visible lack of genitalia. “I’ve written a lot of complaints to Hasbro about that,” he gripes. I’m sure Hasbro would receive many more complaints if the case were otherwise.
Ted is voiced and motion-captured by MacFarlane, who provides him with a thick-as-blood Bostonian accent that instantly calls to mind Peter Griffin, another MacFarlane-voiced animated character. He is, as far as I could tell, a wholly computer-generated creation, and he interacts well with the film’s live-action setting, much more so than Scooby-Doo ever did in his live-action adventures. In a deceptively treacly opening sequence narrated by (who else?) Patrick Stewart, we witness the magical origins of Ted. In the suburbs of Boston on Christmas Day in 1985, a crushingly unpopular eight-year-old boy named John Bennett (Bretton Manley) receives a teddy bear from his loving parents. This bear is inanimate and is given the name Ted. (Continue Reading…)