Teddy bear both cud­dly and crude

Kapi-Mana News - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

Ted Star­ring Mark Wahlberg, Mila Ku­nis, Seth MacFar­lane (voice), Joel McHale, Gio­vanni Ribisi, Patrick War­bur­ton, Jes­sica Barth, No­rah Jones. Writ­ten and di­rected by Seth MacFar­lane. 106 min­utes, R13 (offensive lan­guage, drug use, sex­ual con­tent), show­ing at Read­ing Cine­mas Porirua. Re­leased dur­ing the school hol­i­days, Ted has the po­ten­tial to up­set naive mums and dads in the same way Tarantino blood­bath True Ro­mance once trau­ma­tised movie-go­ers ex­pect­ing a ro­man­tic com­edy.

The sched­ul­ing may just be a co­in­ci­dence – fol­low­ing closely on its United States re­lease – but you wouldn’t put it past wri­ter­di­rec­tor Seth MacFar­lane ( Fam­ily Guy) to de­light at the prospect of cor­rupt­ing kid­dies and pun­ish­ing their par­ents for not do­ing their re­search.

Ei­ther way, cinema staff are be­ing par­tic­u­larly vig­i­lant en­sur- ing chil­dren un­der 13 don’t find them­selves at the mercy of Ted, an ob­nox­ious teddy bear who’s as crude as he is cud­dly.

What starts out as a whole­some Christ­mas fa­ble – the most un­pop­u­lar kid in Bos­ton, John Bennett, has his wish for a real liv­ing teddy bear granted – soon heads for the gut­ter when we find John (Mark Wahlberg) and Ted in their mid-30s smok­ing bongs and ob­sess­ing over their favourite child­hood film, Flash Gor­don.

Their vow to be best friends for life is hold­ing thick, but it’s also hold­ing John back. His per­sonal and pro­fes­sional life have been stunted from too much hors­ing about with his teddy bear.

Lori (Mila Ku­nis, who voices Meg on Fam­ily Guy), his girl­friend of four years, is grow­ing im­pa­tient with her man-child’s ar­rested de­vel­op­ment and in­creas­ingly in­fu­ri­ated with Ted.

A re­fresh­ing step away from con­ven­tion is that Ted is no se­cret – he doesn’t re­vert to stuffed fluff when other peo­ple walk into the room. He is quickly outed as a ‘‘Christ­mas mir­a­cle’’ and be­comes a na­tional celebrity.

How­ever, MacFar­lane drolly pro­poses the pub­lic’s fas­ci­na­tion for a teddy bear- come- to- life would be lit­tle dif­fer­ent to a child star. Hence, we have one cyn­i­cal, off-the-rails adult teddy on our hands, but one who gen­er­ates a cru­cial nugget of sym­pa­thy.

Had MacFar­lane sim­ply repack­aged Fam­ily Guy’s ex­as­per­at­ing idiot pa­tri­arch Peter Grif­fin, we’d give-up on Ted af­ter 10 min­utes.

Though it’s fair to say, those who love or hate MacFar­lane’s an­i­mated shows will hold Ted in the same re­gard. Much of the hu­mour is joy­ously un-PC, and ranges from sub­tle Bos­ton in­jokes to the most ba­sic dick and fart gags. The sto­ry­line does tread fa­mil­iar turf – we’ve seen sim­i­lar slack­ers in Knocked Up, The 40 Year Old Vir­gin and I Love You, Man, but MacFar­lane’s un­bri­dled comic tal­ent and en­thu­si­asm en­sures the pic­ture’s ap­peal is ir­re­sistible.

Bad news bear: An in­cor­ri­gi­ble soft toy come to life leads his owner and best bud John (Mark Wahlberg) to a life of ar­rested ado­les­cence in the very funny but also very naughty Ted.

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