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Movie Review: ‘Ted’ is a Bear-el of Laughs

Wahlberg, Kunis conjure up some fun.

A warning to south suburban parents: This is an R-rated comedy featuring a foul-mouthed, beer-swilling, bong-huffing stuffed animal. It’s not a cute kids’ movie. The 7-year-olds you brought to the theater Saturday morning, and filled with popcorn and Coke for breakfast, are going to be scarred for life. This was proven by the way your daughter crawled onto your lap during a sad part of the movie.

This movie also answered the question, “What do people do when it’s 100 degrees out on a Friday night?” They go to the movies (or they literally ride the storm out with REO Speedwagon).

For adults over the age of 18, Ted is good fun, featuring a sharply written dialogue delivered by thick Bawstun accents. Even Ted the stuffed animal speaks with those hilarious Southie vocalizations.

The plot here isn’t new: A couple is divided by an obnoxious third wheel, the third wheel is banished, then a reconciliation brings everyone back together for a happy ending.

What makes Ted unique, however, is that the third wheel (and the movie’s namesake) dividing the couple (Mark Wahlberg’s John and Mila Kunis’ Lori) is a stuffed teddy bear that talks with a foul mouth. The bear is John’s childhood toy that came to life one Christmas, enjoyed some pop culture popularity, and now remains John’s roommate.

John and Lori reach a relationship turning point, and the archetypal plotline demands that Ted take a hike. But John never really distances himself from his stuffed buddy, and the two old friends still hook up to smoke weed and watch Flash Gordon (Sam J. Jones, who played Flash in the cheesy 1980 film version, makes a hilarious cameo here, along with singer Norah Jones. Who knew she had a sense of humor?).

Wahlberg’s performance here isn’t a stretch, but Kunis puts on an angry smolder better than anyone in recent memory.

Director Seth MacFarlane, who we know from the “Family Guy” animated show, gets the triple crown here, also serving as screenwriter and the voice of Ted.

Several sequences here are memorable, like when John gets his keester kicked by Ted in a painful hotel room brawl (and the two trash that room as well as Keith Moon and John Bonham could).

There’s also an empty stadium chase scene here, as Ted is chased through a deserted Fenway Park (a venue which contains more advertising than MTV during spring break. Ricketts family take note: The men’s restroom troughs at Wrigley Field should be sponsored by Ty-D-Bowl, if you’re still looking to Boston as a benchmark of how to monetize a crumbling ballyard). That ballpark sequence owes much to Clint Eastwood’s chase of the killer through Kezar Stadium in Dirty Harry.

Overall, Ted is quite enjoyable, and the Saturday morning audience laughed heartily throughout. I think they laughed as much as they did for a couple months back.

Quotable moments

“I didn’t want to scare anyone. I just wanted to be a friend.” — Ted to John.

“This is the American dream. A professional athlete is called upon to save the world.” — A stoned John describes the merits of Flash Gordon.

“I thank you for saving every one of us.” — John to Sam J. Jones (who played Flash Gordon).

“I was not a popular child.” — John.

“I look like something you give a kid when you tell him grandma died.” — Ted, wearing a suit for a job interview.

“It’s all Ikea. Did the whole place for $47.” — Ted, on his new apartment’s furnishings.

“I have given up a huge chunk of my life for you.” — Lori to John.

Other observations at the moviehouse

Why didn’t anyone do this before? The Campaign, coming soon, features two bumbling politicians (Will Ferrell as the incumbent and Zach Galifianakis as the challenger) battling it out for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, physical comedy–style. Look for plenty of painful crotch pummelings.

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