Now Playing: Bringing Out the ‘Ted’

If you aren’t a fan of Seth MacFarlane or his trademark referential humor, you probably won’t like ‘Ted’. On the other hand, if you are a fan of his humor, you’ll most likely think it’s the funniest project he’s ever done.

I like ‘Family Guy’, but I can’t stand any of MacFarlane’s other animated ventures. Just as ‘Family Guy’ is a like-it/hate-it type of show, the same goes for ‘Ted’. People will either love it or loathe it. It’s really that simple.

As you may already know, ‘Ted’ is a story about a teddy bear (voiced by MacFarlane) that comes to life when an outcast Boston kid makes a wish. John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) is a loser. As a child, he was ostracized by all the other neighborhood kids, even when they got together to beat up the local Jewish kid. Hell, even the Jewish kid didn’t want him around. (If you haven’t guessed that this movie is full of extreme political incorrectness, or if you’re easily offended, stay at home.) When John’s bear comes to life, the two become the best of friends. Everyone in the world is amazed by this bear that has magically come to life. Ted even appears on Johnny Carson. But, as narrator Patrick Stewart (yes, that Patrick Stewart) informs us, “It doesn’t matter how big of a splash you make in this world, whether you’re Corey Feldman, Frankie Muniz or Justin Bieber. Eventually, nobody gives a shit.”

Ted fades into pop culture obscurity, but remains the best of buds with John. Twenty some-odd years later, the pair are in their 30s and spend most of the time getting high and watching ‘Flash Gordon’. Get ready for as many obscure ’80s references as you’ll be able to handle. ‘Flash Gordon’ is the biggest touchstone, which pays off near the end, but the entire movie is full of out-of-left-field references.

Ted has become a foul-mouthed children’s toy by now. He boozes too much, is always high, and has wild nights with hookers. How he does all that without a brain, stomach or penis is really a mystery. What makes the movie so enjoyable, at least for me, is the chemistry that Wahlberg has with a computer animated character. To his credit, there’s never a time where you’ll feel like Wahlberg is acting with a teddy bear stand-in. After a while, I forgot that Ted was a CGI creation because the two of them work so well together.

I found the film’s irreverent and downright crude humor funny, although a few times I was left scratching my head at some of the referential jokes (as I do in ‘Family Guy’ from time to time). There are more than enough hilarious cameos to make you say, “Really? They got him and her to do that?”

‘Ted’ has a lot of laughs, but again, it will really play best for the fans of Seth MacFarlane. There’s nothing here that doesn’t mirror episodes of ‘Family Guy’, except that this time around, MacFarlane is able to let loose with an R rating. The movie also has a more linear story than most ‘Family Guy’ episodes. The humor is much the same, though. I’m pretty sure that you already know if you’re going to like this movie or not based on those involved. With MacFarlane, you know what you’re getting, good or bad, and it should be easy to decide whether to go or not.

Rating: ★★★½☆

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