'Ted' tickles more than Elmo *WEB EXCLUSIVE*

Anna Axelson, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
WEB EXCLUSIVE
Arts & Culture

You know him as a dim-witted father of three, an infant hell bent on world domination, a liberal canine, a horny neighbor, a self-centered television reporter, an elitist billionaire, a shtick-spewing doctor, an Eastern European bear, a right wing CIA agent, an effeminate alien and now (drum roll please) as a plush, polyfill stuffed teddy bear with a hankering for hookers and pot. Seth MacFarlane has done it again.

Ted” hit theaters this weekend and MacFarlane fans will surely not be disappointed. Free of prime time and saddled with an R rating, the gloves are off in this tale of a Christmas wish come true.

When John Bennett was a young boy, he made a simple wish for his teddy bear to be alive, and awoke to a living, breathing playmate.

Twenty seven years after that fateful Christmas Eve, John (played by Mark Wahlberg) and Ted (voiced by MacFarlane) are still the best of friends, with all the vulgar banter, alcohol and illegal substances that includes. In addition to this immature life-long friendship, John barely holds down a meager job at a car rental agency. So how he managed to snag a beauty like Lori Collins (played by Mila Kunis), let alone maintain a relationship with her for nearly four years is beyond me (let this be a ray of hope to some out there).

Of course, it’s too good to be true (you knew it had to be). There comes a time in everyone’s life that we must put away childish things, and in John’s case, that meant Ted. At Lori’s prodding, John helps Ted find a job and his own apartment. Too bad old habits die hard because before long, John is even skipping out on work to hang out with his old playmate as much as possible. The last straw for Lori is when John abandons her at a work gathering to party with Ted and Sam Jones (the eternal Flash Gordon).

As to not give too much away, I’ll let you see the film to investigate the rest of the plotline (which incidentally includes some violence, a kidnapping plot, a chase scene, and another wish). Stuffing will fly. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. Good times.

Bookending the film, Patrick Stewart provides superb narration, eloquently telling the story in a way that was both dignified and hilarious, while only occasionally straying off topic into bitter rants. Wahlberg does a great job playing the man-child opposite the vulgar toy, most impressively in an epic fight scene that alone was pretty much the matinee ticket price. As always, Kunis is stunning as the forgiving, tolerant, exasperated girlfriend and I am always happy to see a woman get down and dirty with the rest of them (in the realm of language, perversion and bathroom humor of course – all of which are common aspects of this movie).

While no stranger to directing, producing, writing and voice acting, this is MacFarlane’s first go at a feature-length film. Most of us are used to and satisfied by the 22 minute bursts of entertainment we usually get from him, so it was great to see that he seemingly had no trouble filling the 106 minute runtime of “Ted.”

It all depends on what you are in the mood for, but for me, I was kept laughing and only minimally embarrassed by a few blush-worthy punch lines (and even that probably had more to do with the creepy laugh from the guy who sat behind me in the theater). In true MacFarlane form, little esoteric digs and jabs that have nothing to do with anything are littered throughout the script; each a little “F-you” and/or tribute to one thing or another that is both unnecessary and much appreciated.

Because MacFarlane is my cup of tea, I give it 5 out of 5 stars, though I certainly see that some others (like those unaccustomed to his flavor of humor) may find that it leaves a bitter aftertaste. Watch at your own discretion and remember that it is rated R for a reason.

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