Ted–Movie Review

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4 Stars

Ted (IMDB) is a heartwarming children’s story about a little boy whose teddy bear magically comes to life because, as the narrator says, “there is nothing in the world as powerful as a little boy’s wish…except for an Apache helicopter.”

OK, I lied. This is not at all suitable for children, or even for adults who are easily offended. However it is extremely funny.

The story does indeed begin when John Bennett (Bretton Manley), a lonely 8-year-old boy, wishes that his teddy bear could talk and it obligingly comes to life. This almost leads to disaster when his parents panic at the sight of a walking and talking teddy bear and want to shoot it. Fortunately everything gets straightened out and John and Teddy promise to be best friends forever.

Cut to the present. John (Mark Wahlberg) has grown up to be a 35-year-old loser, well-intentioned but dim-witted. He works at a car-rental agency but doesn’t seem to be doing a very good job. He lives with his girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) who seems much classier than he deserves, but he is too dumb to realize that he should marry her before she gets away.

Lori thinks that John is wasting his life because of the bad influence of his best friend, the aforementioned bear. Ted (now voiced by Seth MacFarlane who also directed) does seem like a bad influence. He looks as cute as ever but he is foul-mouthed, insulting (in a witty creative way) and seems to spend all his time getting high and partying with hookers.

Lori prevails to the extent that Ted is forced to move out, get a job and find his own apartment. However living on his own does not make him more responsible. If anything his behavior gets worse and so does his influence on John.

(It’s easy to blame Ted, but what does it say about John if he does stupid things because a teddy bear tells him to?)

Meanwhile Lori is trying to fend off the advances of her boss Rex (Joel McHale) who is rich and good looking. In most comedies of this sort this character would be a plausible rival to the hero, but Rex is so incredibly obnoxious that he makes John look like Sir Galahad.

The movie goes to a fair amount of trouble to offend everyone in the audience. For example when Ted says that he has found a girlfriend with “a White Trash name” John insists on guessing the name and quickly rattles off all the most popular Anglo girl’s names from the past few decades.

As I said this is not intended for children. It is rated R due to bad language, casual drug use and some not-very-explicit scenes of a teddy bear having sex. (On the other hand it would probably cause fewer nightmares than some of the PG-13 movies that people are taking their preschoolers to these days.)