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Ted cute and cuddly but no part plays over to a family audience

Paul Peterson

Well, the run-away comedy hit of the summer involves a hard drinking, hard living, racist, sexist 2 1/2 foot bundle of joy named Ted. He’s what Adam Sandler would be if he was stuffed and made of terrycloth, and it’s the latest offering from the alleged comedic genius of Seth MacFarlane, he of Family Guy fame.
Our story so far. John Bennett is a lonely little guy who has no friends, and so one Christmas his parents get him a life size (by eight-year-old standards) teddy bear. That night John asks him to be his friend for life and the bear comes to life.
The opening scene is typical MacFarlane. Voiceover announcer lending dignity to the opening poignant scene, almost lulling us into this false sense of gravitas, until the four-letter bombs come flying and the racist comments. It’s funny and effective.
A real life Ted is a media sensation and his fame rises. He’s on Carson and enjoys his 15 minutes, but fame is fleeting, even for a miracle of toy making and the boys settle into their adolescence and significant post delayed adolescence.
Fast forward to the age of 35 and John (Mark Wahlberg) is working at a dead end job at a car rental agency. The movie’s second miracle is that John has a way too hot girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) who is just waiting around for John to grow up and pop the question.
There’s your premise and your set up. It’s a buddy movie about growing up  and growing apart and that whole when-I-was-a-child-I-did-as-a-child but now I’m old and my girl won’t let me story arc.
Ted parties hard. He likes hookers and meaningless nights of debauchery.
Who would guess we’d ever get warnings about stuffed animals and drug use. And lots and lots of explicit sexual content and situations.
In comparison, John is fairly stable and well behaved.
The rest of the story is inconsequential. It’s an extended Family Guy episode where anything can and does happen and reality is an aside that doesn’t matter. There are some very funny parts in here but I get distracted by MacFarlane’s voiceover. It’s too big, too bombastic. I know that’s a trivial point when a stuffed teddy is introducing four hookers to his best friend, but hey, I’m a purest.
It really is amazing how much stuff they get away with in the name of animation. Maybe that’s the real secret to dealing with politically correct pressure. Just blow through it like a steamroller. Go so far beyond anything that’s socially acceptable.
If you get the sense that this is an adult comedy you’re right. Kids saw the bear and wanted to see this cute little comedy but no part of it plays to the family audience.
It’s raunchy and rude and overall fairly funny although I have to admit it misses my sensibilities for the most part but hey, I’m an old guy.
One of the coolest things about MacFarlane in my opinion is that he had a ticket for one of the 9/11 flights but was so hungover he passed out in a Boston waiting room and missed his flight. Good timing. He doesn’t think he’s on borrowed time. Comedically, he’s right.
He wrote directed and voiced Ted and to date its grossed $204 million. Ya I don’t see this pattern continuing at all.
I’m sure there’s some other cherished children’s icon that needs to get wasted and laid. Buckle up Mother Goose. You’re far from safe.
I like Mark Wahlberg. He’s an interesting guy and does comedy well. Otherwise I thought this was mostly forgettable. There are a lot of people who disagree. To which of course I say:
Other opinions are welcome, but wrong. That’s it for this week. The cheque’s in the mail and I’m outta here. Paul

Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElsePaul Peterson

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