Movie Review: Ted

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Mila Kunis
Written & directed by Seth MacFarlane
Rating: MA 15+

On one fateful Christmas Eve, eight-year-old John Bennett (Wahlberg) made a wish. He wished for his teddy bear to be able to talk to him so they could be best friends for ever and ever.

By some twist of fate, the next morning the once-stuffed toy was a walking, talking, living teddy bear. The look on John’s parents’ faces when they hear Ted walk and talk is absolutely priceless.

Fast forward several decades and Ted has become a foul-mouthed slacker teddy bear voiced by Seth MacFarlane. If you’re a fan of Family Guy, at first it may be difficult to shake the image of Peter Griffin from your mind. MacFarlane is a talented voice artist with a long list of different-sounding voice credits to his name, so it’s strange that he decided to voice Ted so similarly to another one of his characters.

Forgoing the premise of the main protagonist’s best friend being a stuffed toy, Ted is about the true strength of relationships. When Ted is put in a dangerous situation, John doesn’t think twice about taking action.

John is in a four-year relationship with Lori (Kunis), who is fed up with John and Ted’s immature antics. What could be less attractive to a woman than a man’s teddy bear being his best friend? Or that same teddy bear running into his owner’s bed on a stormy night, so the “Thunder Buddies” can protect each other?

Lori gives John an ultimatum: it’s either her or Ted. John is torn between true love and his best friend. Ted has been there for him since he was eight years old, when no one wanted to be his friend. The film documents John’s struggle to create his own identity away from his confidant of 27 years.

The Ryan Reynolds cameo is strange, and does nothing to develop the main storyline, but what happens with his character is completely unexpected. Ladies, you may have your hearts broken – just remember it’s only a movie.

The trailer for Ted is really just a selection of some of the funniest lines from the movie, masking many of the key plot elements nicely. You’ll never expect some of the shenanigans John and Ted get up to.

To describe Ted as purely a comedy would be unfair to the depth of the storyline. It’s a comedy, a suspense movie and a romance all rolled into one. But although it combines a mixture of genres, I wouldn’t suggest taking young children to see the movie. Yes, a teddy bear is cute and cuddly, but Ted truly defies the social conventions of acceptable stuffed toy behaviour.

3 out of 5.

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Movie Review: Safe

Starring: Jason Statham, Catherin Chan, Chris Sarandon
Written & directed by Boaz Yakin
Rating: TBA

Jason Statham is Luke Wright, a former elite agent with a guilty conscience. He’s a man with nothing to live for until he saves a young girl from the very men who murdered his wife.

Taken from her mother and her homeland, Mei is living a life she never wanted. Her impressive mathematical skills are used to act as a human calculator for a group of Chinese criminals.

Safe is set in New York City, where corrupt police officers have gotten greedy. In order to allow the Chinese and the Russians to operate illegal underground gambling rings they ask for a cut of the profits.

The city is harmonious until the Chinese and the Russians go after the same thing: Mei. She holds the code that both groups want. Luke sees Mei’s liberation as a chance to redeem himself.

Statham may be the principal actor, but his role in the film is limited. The key plot elements and storyline centre around the Russians and the Chinese.

Unless you’re fluent in Russian and Mandarin, be prepared to read subtitles. I like that the producers chose to have the actors speak in their native tongues to add realism to the movie.

It appears that Statham is attempting to speak in an American Accent. It comes across as a mixture of English, Scottish and American. Lucky for him, he doesn’t have many lines. However, he does redeem himself when speaking Russian.

Unlike some movies where the sub-plot reveals key elements of the story, Safe compels you to watch the story unfold before you. There are no clues left for the audience to use to piece together the puzzle.

While it is something of a mystery, it’s not over-complicated with too many twists and turns. Each event that takes place is simply a natural progression of the storyline.

Safe isn’t what you would consider a bad movie. The acting and the script were fine, I just feel like I have seen this kind of movie before. How many times can we see Jason Statham in the same sort of role? Even action stars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone have branched out in to different genres at some point in their careers.

Safe reminds me of Rush Hour without the witty banter between Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan. There are some humorous one-liners thrown in, but they’re few and far between.  If you enjoy action movies with extensive fight scenes and high body counts, though, then this is the movie for you.

While Safe follows the same formula of most action films, it is quite enjoyable. It’s unpredictable down to the final moment.

3 out of 5.

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