TED (Seth MacFarlane, 2012)
Opens Friday, June 29
Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane’s first feature film, Ted, is a cuddly, foul-mouthed, raunchy delight. Mark Wahlberg stars as John Bennett, a man-child whose best friend is his teddy bear, brought to life by a Christmas wish twenty-seven years ago when John was eight. But Ted (a motion-captured MacFarlane in Peter Griffin voice) is no sugar-sweet bear; instead, the rotoscoped stuffed pervert spends his days and nights doing bong hits, inviting hookers over, and convincing John to hang out rather than pursue any kind of real career. None of this sits well with John’s longtime girlfriend, Lori (a wonderful Mila Kunis, her large, emotional eyes dominating the screen), who is growing tired of being the third wheel and is seriously considering delivering an ultimatum to John to choose between her and Ted. Meanwhile, Ted is being stalked by a creepy guy named Donny (Giovanni Ribisi) whose creepy son (Aedin Mincks) wants Ted for himself. Ted has no right to be as good as it is, and don’t be fooled by trailers that make it look like a silly one-joke comedy sketch. It turns out to be a warm, endearing story filled with heart, centered around two strong relationships that are handled with grace and charm by MacFarlane, who cowrote the surprisingly strong script with Family Guy cohorts Alec Sulkin and Wellesely Wild. Even when the film goes awry — which it does several times, particularly in a throwaway scene with Norah Jones and a tired subplot involving Lori’s boss’s (Joel McHale) annoying pursuit of her — it always rights itself, balancing comedy, romance, and tragedy with laughs and tears. The film also features American Dad Patrick Warburton as John’s macho coworker, Jessica Barth as Ted’s sexy coworker, and Patrick Stewart as the humble narrator who bookends the heartwarming tale with yet more four-letter words. And there’s a special treat for fans of Sam Jones and the 1980 cult classic Flash Gordon.