Trailer Truth: Do the Ads Help or Hurt 'Ted'?

Trailer Truth: Do the Ads Help or Hurt 'Ted'?

Jun 29, 2012

I never watch a trailer until after I’ve seen the movie, and I also attempt to avoid as much news as possible. Then I compare what I knew, to what you knew. Let’s find out if what we see in the trailer is what we get, and if there is any advantage to going in fresh. (There will be spoilers.)


What I Knew Before: Seth MacFarlane has figured out a way to get his name in a movie that isn't Tooth Fairy (yeah, that's right, he's in that flick). All it took was getting Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis and a teddy bear. I knew the furry little guy comes to life, plus it's a R-rated comedy. The only images I've seen is Wahlberg and the bear sitting on the couch together, and Kunis seeing the bear with four hookers on the couch. I got the sense that Kunis was more shocked about the sex-workers than the inanimate object being alive, so we'll assume she's in on the joke. I've always thought Wahlberg has very limited range, but his wheelhouse is pretty strong. Kunis is ridiculously fun to look at, and is also pretty good with comedy. She helped make Friends with Benefits watchable, plus she's worked with MacFarlane before as Meg on Family Guy.

What I Knew After: You filthy little bear. Simply put, this is Family Guy repackaged. The same type of humor that exists in that animated series is attempted in this live-action, with some good results and some bad. It doesn't hurt that Patrick Stewart is the narrator. I was shocked when it became immediately known that a childhood wish made the teddy bear come to life, and that everyone in the world knew it. The story is supposedly about Wahlberg's character growing up and taking responsibility for his life, but they don't really hit that out of the park. The inclusion of Giovanni Ribisi's character seems like a complete re-shoot addition. This isn't a movie you take the parents, grandparents, or children with to see it. This is you and your buddies getting your MacFarlane kicks during the summer while you wait for his other projects to hit the airwaves in the fall.


What You Knew: Nothing is more powerful than a young boy's wish (especially when Patrick Stewart tells you). Young girls have to be a little bummed to learn this, right? It's adorable for about 20 seconds and then they show Ted and Wahlberg getting high on the couch. On Screen: FROM THE CREATOR OF FAMILY GUY. The song "Best Friend" helps set up the juxtaposition of heart and raunch, and we're off! There are hints of the plot (Wahlberg needs to grow up and marry his girlfriend) and MacFarlane is clearly behind the voice of the bear. Just after the one minute mark there's a bit of a surprise with Wahlberg's co-workers knowing the bear is real. At the 1:13 mark, Kunis finally shows up. She thinks it's time for Ted to move on, and the hookers don't help his cause. Ted meets a girl and wants to "Dirty Fozzy" her. Have you guys ever heard of the song "How You Like Me Know?" by The Heavy? It's in approximately 400 ads right now, including this one. A fist fight between Wahlberg and Ted brings the trailer to an end with the kicker being a joke about Ted in a suit.

Trailer Truth: It's hard to find the "funny" moments in the trailer because most of them in the film are rated R. Take for example Ted flirting with the cashier. In the film that goes well beyond a joke about Fozzy and some grinding. Family Guy is the first show I look for when "nothing else is on." The first half of the film plays out like a good episode. The second half of the film is a bad episode. They don't even show you anything from the second half in the trailer. Normally I would praise a trailer for being so brave, but in this case it's probably because they realize the more screen time Ribisi and Joel McHale get, the weaker the film becomes (and I'm normally a big fan of McHale's). I need to keep better stats on these trailers, but this one also gets points for not doing a crazy flash of scenes leading up to the end of the trailer. The most important thing about the trailer, in fact the only thing you need to know about the trailer, is "FROM THE CREATOR OF FAMILY GUY." That right there will answer the question of whether you want to sit through this flick or not.

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