Friday, July 31, 2015

Ted ★★

 Image result for Ted film stills

    When viewing a motion picture such as "Ted," a vulgar and rather ostentatious live-action comedy that features a computer-generated walking and talking teddy bear as its principal lead, then one must surely adopt a psychoanalytical mindset, or what is more commonly known as an exercising of Freudian criticism. (This is simply a sophisticated way of saying that what one sees on-screen is nothing more than an extension of the director's personality, as each character, event, and any meaningful aspect of the film alludes to some inner workings of the auteur in question.) 

    For, in this particular instance, every minuscule quip infused in the crude dialogue heard on-screen comes solely from the disposition and thought process of one man: Seth MacFarlane. We sit back and watch as MacFarlane bombards us with his twenty-first century social commentary, which hits on several disparate subject matters, including Christianity, homosexuality, people of the Jewish faith, and a number of remarks that comment directly on our modern society's infatuation with anything sexual. Sure, there seems to be some insinuation toward male expectations and gender role classification, yet the film mostly consists of observational humor that is asinine, fatuous, vastly unimportant, and the majority of which I would deem to be considered "Couch Comedy."

    "Ted," believe it or not, is actually heart-warming and endearing at times, but these far and few between moments are ultimately hampered by a plot that is overly ambitious (this is in reference to the number of storylines posed, and its inability to cash in on at least one of these with any fervor) and by a cast that exudes mediocre talent. Let's be honest, both Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis are known for their roles as personality actors, and no amount of charisma on display from Wahlberg can distract from the unenthusiastic demeanor of Kunis. (Her performance here is quite uninspired.)     

    What is justifiably disappointing with regard to "Ted," however, is the unnecessary hindrance provided by the aforementioned muddled plot. The most important aspect of the entire production (that being the accomplishment of a suspension of disbelief, considering we have a self-aware stuffed animal fully functioning in present day Boston) is obtained somewhat easily, and yet, we are held back by a human relationship--that undoubtedly takes center stage--and by another subplot that can never fully deliver with its climactic energy. Ted could have certainly carried the weight of the film by his lonesome, and this unrealized notion led to his subordinates becoming salient, instead of the other way around. 

    There is a scene early in the production (where Kunis arrives at her daytime job) which can pretty much summarize the effort of the film altogether. It is fairly obvious that the coffee mug in which her character is holding is empty, as she exchanges the item from one hand to another, and while she sits it upon her workstation. 

    Now, although this may seem like an unwarranted discernment and even downright trivial, it tells me two things: that the picture is operating as if it were a sitcom, and that there was a total lack of effort in the department of authenticity. (Any liquid could have been used to lend more credibility to the scene.) But the simplistic act of not placing a beverage in a mug is not the point. The art of film-making must be treated and respected to the maximum degree, or else we'll be left with continuous motion on a suspended vinyl screen, with little to no value.  

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