Seth Macfarlene’s 2012 movie was Ted, with Macfarlene giving his voice to the foul mouthed but witty Teddy Bear. This is a Tamil movie hence for considerations of ‘family’ audience the ‘spirit’ is cute, the bear cuddly and the name of the movie is Teddy. Teddy takes the concept of Out of Body experience from Reese Witherspoon starrer Just like Heaven and puts the spirit into a teddy bear.
Arya plays a cocktail of Sheldon Cooper’s eidetic memory, Buddha’s enlightenment and Warren Buffet’s financial wizardry. He also has Bodhidharman’s fighting skills and Devdas’s solitude. What is the point you might wonder and you will be left wondering after the end credits have rolled. Shakti Soundar Rajan’s concept while not novel, is new to the Tamil audience and you cannot help but think that maybe a theatrical release would have worked out better for it. The half before intermission is filled with exposition – terms from science and myth get thrown around like loose change and you get a barrage of acronyms like RPM and OBE. Even around Arya’s character, we get a lot of exposition like his many degrees, each of which he got within a period of 2 months. He understands share market like Aaron Sorkin understands screenplay but makes just enough money to meet his needs. How else would he feature in later scene taking a train? It is like the screenplay universe conspired to bring him to that particular moment. From his marital status to his emotional detachment, everything is explained in detail.
The dubbing for the Teddy is just about cute to get you interested in her story but if you have watched the movies mentioned above then it would take a really engrossing screenplay to hold your attention beyond that. Unfortunately for Teddy, that is not the case. The second half picks up some pace as the movie enters the thriller genre but is dampened by the generic tropes that quickly take over the screenplay. People either do not notice a walking/talking Teddy Bear or are not surprised enough on being made aware of the fact. I had more surprise seeing everyone in Azerbaijan speak Tamil, even though this comes with every movie set outside the ‘Naadu’.
The fights are well choreographed, and Arya does justice to the scenes. The editing is abrupt at places, especially jarring at a point when 2 characters are sitting in a car with an ambassador and the scene just jumps forward to them spying on the bad guys in the middle of a desert. Inspirations from Ted or Just like heaven might have made for better viewing but a cocktail of the two in a boy-meets-toy fantasy is barely bearable.
Captive of the 24 frames and admirer of the written word. If it is not on the silver screen or on the pages of a paperback, it might as well not exist.