BY MICHAEL SMITH World Scene Writer
Saturday, June 30, 2012
6/30/12 at 4:43 AM
"You're my best friend, teddy bear. Won't you be my best friend forever?"
It's a wish that many parents can imagine their little child making at some point in pure youthful exuberance, which is what happens in "Ted" - except that the wish comes true.
The little boy, John, grows up to have an oddly humorous codependency with the bear, a cuddly little foul-mouth who sounds a lot like the fathers on TV's "Family Guy" and "American Dad" series.
There's a reason for that.
This is less a Mark Wahlberg movie (he plays John all grown up) than it is a Seth McFarlane movie. The creator of both of those animated series and the voice of both Peter Griffin and Stan Smith is the voice of Ted. He's also the producer, director and writer of the film, breaking into movies in a big way.
To think of "Ted" is to think of MacFarlane's TV work, but uncensored. Imagine a Build-a-Bear gone bad. Imagine a teddy bear that talks like a teen boy and tokes on a bong as if it were oxygen.
The language is profane, and it's also politically incorrect hilarity. Ted is insensitive when it comes to religion, weight and ethnicity ("there's some Asians living next door, but it's OK, they ain't got a gong or nothing").
The upside for Ted: He bears little to no responsibility for his actions, because hey, the former celebrity is just a teddy bear. The downside for John: He's 35, and his teddy bear and his own pot-smoking are still part of his daily life. He just can't seem to grow up, and his girlfriend (Mila Kunis) wants something more after four years together.
The ultimatum finally arrives: It's me or the bear, she decides.
MacFarlane works hard with his script to mix the locker-room humor with sweetness and sentimentality, especially when it comes to depicting John's male immaturity as representative of undependable men that women suffer through, thinking they can cure them of such aimlessness.
Too many of these scenes are familiar from a variety of romantic comedies, however, and the profane teddy bear bromance with John ends up feeling like a one-joke movie after about a half-hour of good laughs from the pair of lovable screw-ups.
The combination of sentiment plus smut too often equals silly in "Ted," despite the excellent chemistry between Wahlberg and Kunis.
MacFarlane employs a few fantasy elements to good effect, like his many 1980s references. This is particularly true when John and Ted at a wild party meet Sam J. Jones, the actor known largely for playing "Flash Gordon" in a cult-trash flick from that decade, and they party "Flash"-style.
It's a cue that MacFarlane and his leading man know just how ridiculous this whole situation is, so why dabble in absurdity when you can make a silly splash.
"Ted" was never intended to be a film classic, and it's never so bad that it makes you want to rip the stuffing out of Ted. Going in with low - as well as lowbrow - expectations guarantees some solid laughs and that you'll never find it unbearable.
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis,
voice of Seth MacFarlane
Theaters: Promenade, Cinemark Tulsa,
Cinemark Broken Arrow, Starworld
20, RiverWalk, Owasso, Eton Square,
Sand Springs, Moviestar Cinema
Running time: 1 hour, 46 minutes
Rated: R (crude and sexual content,
pervasive language, some drug use)
Quality: (on a scale of zero to
Original Print Headline: Foul-mouthed bear good for a few lowbrow laughs
Michael Smith 918-581-8479
Mark Wahlberg plays a man with an oddly humorous codependency with the foul-mouthed teddy bear from his youth in "Ted." Courtesy