Grin and bear it: MacFarlane's riotous, R-rated comedy Ted

Aug 3, 2012

Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis star in a blissfully vulgar tale of a pot-smoking, trash-talking stuffed bear

What you need to know
American comedy Ted is co-written and directed by Seth McFarlane, the creator of the animated television sitcoms Family Guy and American Dad. The film is MacFarlane's first full-length live-action feature. It is R-rated in the US and carries a 15 certificate in the UK.

Ted tells the story of John, a man in his thirties whose best friend is a teddy bear who came to life after a childhood wish. Still by his side, the vulgar, dissolute teddy bear is now a hindrance to John growing up and forming adult relationships.
Mark Wahlberg (The FighterBoogie Nights) plays the man-child John. Black Swan actress Mila Kunis (also the voice of Meg Griffin in Family Guy) plays John's long-suffering girlfriend, Lori. Seth MacFarlane is the voice of Ted, the wastrel teddy bear.

What the critics like
Crass, supremely silly and very, very funny, Ted is not for those looking for Woody Allen-esque introspection, says Phil de Semlyen in Empire. But the "hell-for-leather gag rate" and Wahlberg and Kunis's sheer likability elevate this above many other love triangle tales. Wahlberg is fast developing into one of Hollywood's most versatile actors. "Ted is the comedy of the summer."

This riotous, ribald, R-rated comedy centres on a pot-smoking, sexually active, trash-talking stuffed bear, says Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times. But with Wahlberg and Kunis's characters, MacFarlane proves he is as adept at working with real flesh-and-blood actors as animated figures. "He's even better when blending both worlds - at some point, it is possible to forget than Ted is a plush toy."

Seth McFarlane has shown the world how to make an R-rated comedy, says Andrew O'Hehir at In a universe of Hollywood comedies that seem determined to insult the audience, Ted "feels almost sophisticated".

What they don't like
The funniest moments involve Ted engaged in rude unteddy-bear-like activities, says Ben Walters in Time Out, but there's not much else going on. The plot runs out of steam, women are treated as stooges, and there's a playground insistence on the inherent snigger-worthiness of homosexuality. MacFarlane can make us laugh, "but it's time to grow up".

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