Warning to parents: Just because you see a teddy bear on the “Ted” movie poster, doesn’t mean it’s kid-friendly. If you look closely, the bear is holding a beer, which by the way, is the tamest thing he’ll be holding throughout the film.
If you’re familiar with TV’s “Family Guy,” you’ll have a sense of the kind of coarse humor to expect. (That’s IF the censors were duct-taped in Chris’ “evil monkey” closet and creator Seth MacFarlane were allowed to run free — which he is here.)
Initially, you might be lulled by the grandfatherly voice of Patrick Stewart describing a snow-covered Christmas morning. Lonely little Johnny gets a teddy bear with a pull-string voice for Christmas. He is so happy, he wishes the bear could come alive and they could be best friends forever.
The wish comes true. Ted the teddy bear becomes a national celebrity at first, but eventually that all goes the way of fleeting stardom. At some point, nobody cares anymore.
So now John is 35. Ted, too, has matured in voice, even though he looks the same. However, there’s an edge to Ted now. OK, I’ll just say it — he’s creepy, perverted, vulgar, smokes a lot of weed and takes no responsibility for anything.
And it’s that attitude that is dragging John (Mark Wahlberg) down, not only in his career but also in his four-year relationship with his live-in girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis), whom he loves dearly.
So troubled John is caught between his girlfriend and his best friend. He knows something’s got to change, but doesn’t have the heart to send his best pal packing.
However, fairly soon, Ted will make it easier by inviting escorts over to watch TV, all while playing a disgusting game of Truth or Dare.
So Ted is forced to get his own place. He reluctantly gets a job as a grocery store clerk and starts dating one of the hot young employees there. Every time Ted says or does something disturbing before the boss in hopes of getting fired, he gets promoted. Go figure.
At times, you’ll get a hint of Seth MacFarlane’s Peter Griffith character from “Family Guy,” only without the usual broadcast restrictions. Yes, he’s one foul little bear, but that makes him hilarious one moment and cringing the next.
It doesn’t always work and most of it is used for shock value, but when it’s funny, it’s very funny.
And yet amidst the crudeness is a sweet, almost innocent story of lasting friendship and devotion, about hanging on to true love and about adoring the things that shape our lives.
Apparently, MacFarlane has an obsession with the campy 1980 sci-fi film “Flash Gordon,” starring former model Sam Jones; both of which play a prominent role in this film (as a childhood hero of both John and Ted’s). There are plenty of other cameos spread around; MacFarlane lines up many of his friends to drop in. I have to admit, I was entertained and laughed a lot, but the language and sexual content are pretty rough.
I’m really up in the air on this one. This has more to do with you than me, since I think a tougher crowd will love it, and a more sensitive crowd could hate it. You make the call, because “Ted” is one polarizing little bear.