Just about every prime-time animated television show has had a movie. Whether that movie was also animated or converted to live action, almost all of them have been terrible. Regardless of that fact, fans still ask “when is there going to be a ______ movie?” Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show, listens to his fans, but he is no fool. He has been one of the most harsh critics of his own work. Instead of tossing out a really long episode of Family Guy and calling it a movie, he chose to take some of the actors, create some Family Guy style characters and the result is the movie, Ted. Just like any of his TV shows, there will be mixed feelings, but all that means is that you need to see this for yourself.

Ted knows how to woo the ladies

THUNDERBUDDIES FOR LIFE John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) grew up a lonely kid since the other boys on his block never wanted to play with him. One Christmas, his parents gave him a talking teddy bear (a la Teddy Ruxpin) and it became John’s best friend. He named it Teddy and one night he wished that Teddy were alive. A shooting star grants his wish and twenty-seven years later, a grown John still has his thunderbuddy Ted (MacFarlane) by his side. Now instead of watching movies together and hiding under the covers, they smoke weed, drink beer and generally annoy Bennett’s girlfriend, Lori Collins (Mila Kunis). )NOTE: Ted only smokes from a bong, probably because a joint would potentially set him on fire.) Things are great until John messes up one time too many and Lori gets fed up. John has to think about what is important in life and decide whether or not to grow up and move forward.

Thunder song

SAVED EVERY ONE OF US If you get that reference, then you must see this movie. I am not going to elaborate because it will spoil one of the best parts. Kunis and MacFarlane are used to working together so there is no surprise that the interaction of Ted and Lori is great. It’s Mark Wahlberg that was the big surprise. Wahlberg has great range and has been doing well lately as a comedic actor. This role I would suspect would be a little more challenging as he had to sometimes physically act against a character that was not there. Getting your ass kicked by a two foot tall stuffed animal is not something that is easy to fake, especially if he’s not really there. This film also has the best use of random characters playing themselves since the Harold And Kumar series. I guess it doesn’t hurt that half the cast are regulars of Family Guy, Robot Chicken and various other comedies. The right cast was chosen to appeal to the audience MacFarlane is familiar with.

A little bit o' bubbly

A WALKING, TALKING TEDDY BEAR YOU SAY? Ted is one big special effect. Wahlberg’s interactive scenes with Ted involved several regular Teddy Bears and Seth MacFarlane did the motion capture for Ted. Aside from the title character, there is not much else that would have explained the film’s fifty million dollar budget (which it made back opening weekend). I give credit to the SFX and VFX teams because Ted not only looked like a real stuffed bear, they detailed the wear and tear that a nearly thirty year old toy would display like the pilling effect most fabrics experience. Ted the bear was truly a work of art.

Taking advice from a teddy bear is not the smartest thing to do.

HE DID MUSIC FOR WHAT?  This whole project really keeps things in the “family” (bad pun intended) as you can see when looking through the credits. Walter Murphy has composed music for every single one of MacFarlane’s creations and he lends his talents once again, to Ted. Much like a Family Guy episode, there is a lot of recycled music from other projects and you might miss Murphy’s contributions if you do not pay attention. That said, nothing stands out as new memorable music in this movie.

Wrong on so many levels

If you watch Fox’ Animation Domination for at least an hour, then you will love this movie. Ted is in many ways a live action conglomeration of his animated shows. One need go no further than Ted himself to see  that. Of all the voices that MacFarlane does, he chose that of Peter Griffin for the foul-mouthed little bear. Despite the voice, it is Wahlberg’s character who more clearly represents Peter Griffin, as Bennett is a certified moron that lucks out and gets a beautiful girl to love him. And if that doesn’t sound familiar enough, there is a scene that fans of “Peter vs. Giant Chicken” will go nuts over. I sound like I am bashing this film, but I am not. The previews made the film look like it was live action Family Guy and that is basically what we got, complete with a creepy stalker guy. Even if you are not a huge fan of that show, you’ll love hearing Patrick Stewart narrate. Ted is the 2012 feel good movie. It will make you laugh and possibly cry as well. In the end, you will be glad that you saw it.

Thunderbuddies for life!