During a recent cross-country flight, the LA Animation Examiner belatedly screened the 2012 theatrical live-action/animation release Ted. The timing seemed right, though, in view of the upcoming Academy Awards. Not only is Ted a nominee (Best Original Song, "Everybody Needs a Best Friend"), but its maker Seth MacFarlane is the host of the 2013 preeminent film fete.
In the humble and somewhat dubious opinion of the LA Animation Examiner, and regardless of its Oscar pedigree (or lack thereof), Ted deserves a look. It also demands a few double takes. Here are five reasons that Ted earns audience consideration and possibly even additional praise.
1) Blue humor that does not make one see red - Seth MacFarlane, of Family Guy fame, is perhaps the king of gratuitously irreverent humor. He also is the writer, director, producer, and voice star of Ted. However, all of the jokes (dirty and otherwise) in Ted are well integrated into the plot and are character driven. The movie's 'shit-on-my-floor' scene is a wonderful case in point.
2) Witty commentary on the dogma of fame - If Charlie Sheen reincarnated as a teddy bear, he might manifest as Ted. This film is a fable of the hidden dangers of stardom, especially for former young entertainers, such as Ted himself. Giovanni Ribisi's creepy turn as Ted's stalker further drives the message home.
3) Flash Gordon - There is a place in this world for a new interpretation of the classic comic, and that place is film parody. Ted proves it in multiple scenes. The same applies to Sam J. Jones, star of the 1980 Flash Gordon cult title. In Ted, Jones titillates in a career redefining role as himself circa 2012.
4) Two Peter Pans - Mark Wahlberg (as Ted's owner John Bennett) gives a surprisingly poignant portrayal of a man who refuses to mature. Seth MacFarlane's voice characterization of Ted is a more outrageous and fuzzy, albeit engrossing, mirror image of same.
5) Attention to period detail - Production design, costumes, music, and dialogue enhance the flashback scenes, in particular. Incidentally, the LA Animation Examiner identified a pair of her brother's pajamas circa late 1970s. Nostalgic discoveries abound, especially for Generation X audience members!
Be sure to watch the Oscars live from Los Angeles on Sunday, February 24 on ABC. It seems likely that a gut-busting bear named Ted will crash the party and chew the scenery accordingly. Delicious!