Combustible Celluloid
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With: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane (voice), Joel McHale, Giovanni Ribisi, Patrick Warburton, Matt Walsh, Jessica Barth, Aedin Mincks, Bill Smitrovich, Patrick Stewart (narrator), Norah Jones, Sam J. Jones, Tom Skerritt, Bretton Manley, Ralph Garman, Alex Borstein
Written by: Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild
Directed by: Seth MacFarlane
MPAA Rating: R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use
Running Time: 106
Date: 06/29/2012

Ted (2012)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Bear Pair

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

At first glance, Ted looks like one of those 1980s comedies about a guy with a talking penis or a guy stuck with an annoying ghost. But it's actually the feature film debut of Seth MacFarlane, creator of the animated TV series "Family Guy" and "American Dad," and it has that kind of humor: quick-witted, audacious, loaded with pop culture references and flashbacks, and offensive to everyone, equally.

But MacFarlane has also tapped into that thing that made There's Something About Mary a phenomenon; in addition to stinging jokes, it has a genuine sweetness. Not a sarcastic sweetness, not a winking sweetness, but genuine -- and earned.

In the simple premise, young John Bennett makes a Christmas wish for his new teddy bear, "Ted," to speak and be his friend forever. Twenty-seven years later, John (Mark Wahlberg) and Ted (voiced by MacFarlane) are still friends, smoking pot on the couch and watching Flash Gordon. Unfortunately, John's pretty girlfriend (Mila Kunis) won't put up with these antics much longer.

Ted's pure, confident id is similar to Adam Sandler's character in the recent That's My Boy, but less ugly. Ted's job in the movie isn't to get John to "loosen up" and dump the wrong girl, but rather to allow him to grow up and deserve the woman he's already with. Despite the fact that he's a bear, Ted is one of the most human characters of the summer. And despite jokes about prostitutes and poop, Ted is surprisingly mature.
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