- Running time:
- 106 minutes
- Mark Wahlberg -
- John Bennett
- Mila Kunis -
- Seth MacFarlane -
- Voice of Ted
- Joel McHale -
- Giovanni Ribisi -
Ted is a talking teddy bear, a child's cherished toy, born of a wish come true. Then the cuddly stuffed animal grew up and became a foul-mouthed, bong-sucking wastrel.
The movie (* * ½ out of four, R, opens Friday) bearing his name is high-concept and filled with occasional bits of genius and a lot of raunchiness. It also can be grating. But the moments of bizarrely inspired humor, as concocted by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane (who wrote and directed the movie and voices Ted), make it worth sitting through the dumb, and occasionally offensive, bits.
The natural interactions between Ted and his beloved man-child owner, John, terrifically played as an adult by Mark Wahlberg, are more often than not ridiculously funny.
It's Ted's forays into the larger world that lead to comic missteps.
John is 8 when Ted lands under his Christmas tree. His ardent wish that his new stuffed pal could talk is miraculously answered. Instant best pals, they swear to always remain together.
For a brief time, Ted becomes a media sensation. Then many years go by and he's a washed-up has-been. But, true to his promise, the thirtysomething John remains his loyal BFF.
Everything seems to be fine between the genial, but slightly dim, John and his plushy friend. That is until Lori (Mila Kunis), the tolerant and loving girlfriend who John realizes is too good for him, puts her foot down, insisting John grow up and be a man if they're to stay together. John is going nowhere with a tedious job at a car rental agency, which he leaves often to get stoned with his bear.
The couple decide Ted is holding John back from maturity, so grudgingly and sadly, John must break their bond. They'll remain buddies, but they can no longer live in the same house.
In no time, Ted finds a job in a supermarket, gets his own place and hooks up with a sexy co-worker (despite his lack of, er, anatomical correctness). But John remains immature and misses his good buddy. He is only half a man without his beloved trash-talking teddy bear.
The computer-generated animation is done seamlessly, and MacFarlane's nyuk-nyuk Boston-accented voice is a funny counterpoint to the sweet-looking toy. Joel McHale is very funny as as Lori's sleazy boss, and Giovanni Ribisi is creepily comical as a nefarious guy who kidnaps Ted, ostensibly for his strange little boy.
This bromance with rapid-fire quips, however, is undermined by unoriginal scenarios and a long, drawn-out chase scene. The crass, gleefully offensive humor doesn't always hit its mark, the plot is predictable, and the overused Flash Gordon references grow silly and tiresome.
Then, just when Ted seems about to get truly annoying, there's a hilarious celebrity cameo to liven things up or a truly clever pop culture reference that puts it all back in the plus column. It's no teddy bear's picnic, but the moments of inspired humor and the chemistry between a very funny Wahlberg and his potty-mouthed bear is better than most A-list Hollywood pairings.
Movie theaters and showtimes for Ted in Cincinnati.
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