Funny as hell, but please don’t think you can actually take the kids to this one. Ted is the buddy movie with Mark Walhberg as a 35-year old coach potato and his once sweet but turned foul-mouthed teddy bear. Our man John Bennett is asked to part with the bear and grow up from his professional-minded girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis), but it’s hard to split from attachments, harder to split from pot after being on it so long. The first feature by Seth MacFarlane (“Family Guy” creator) has the same kind of spitfire put-downs and flip pop culture references that define his television show.
Most of the more complicated jokes were, brace yourself, already set-up in the trailers and television ads already. Spoiled jokes might ruin it for some people looking for fresh surprises, but even though it was trailer déjà vu, I still was amused. Enough else happens to allow for combustible humor. I’ll give you some small examples. On a dinner date, John recalls his early courtship with a recreated nod to not just “Saturday Night Fever” (!) but to the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker spoof version of “Saturday Night Fever.” Then there’s Giovanni Ribisi, as a potential sodomizing deviant, who bares close resemblance in one scene to Thomas Harris’ Buffalo Bill.
On a broader note, jokes include a cutaway to feces, a couch of hookers, stereotyped Asians who might have gongs, bashing of flash-in-the-pan celebs, reveling in forgotten celebs like Sam J. Jones of “Flash Gordon,” and Ted verbally expressing himself following partial jaw paralysis – yet as much as it was politically incorrect, I wasn’t offended. That’s because MacFarlane is coming from an un-PC method of comedy in the first place – he’s conscious of what is deemed tastelessness. I’m only offended by ignorant people unaware that they are being tasteless. There is a difference, you see?
MacFarlane is good with shot composition, with good set-ups and cutaway shots to reveal the in-coming joke, with creating a mushy feel-good vibe only to skewer it scathingly, and can pace a movie. “Ted” doesn’t mean anything, but it entertains you guilelessly while in the moment. High times.
115 Minutes. Rated R.
GOOFY COMEDY / CRUDE HUMOR / WEEKEND VIEWING DEBAUCHERY
Film Cousins: “Flash Gordon” (1980); “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” (1989); “Beavis and Butt-head Do America” (1996); “South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut” (1999).
Official movie website: click here.