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Ted (AF)


Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane, Joel McHale, Giovanni Ribisi, Patrick Warburton, Matt Walsh, Jessica Barth, Aedin Mincks, Bill Smitrovich, Patrick Stewart, Norah Jones, Sam J Jones, Tom Skerritt

Director: Seth MacFarlane

‘Family Guy’ creator MacFarlane’s first feature – as writer/director and star - is definitely disgraceful and disgracefully funny and might well encourage Seth Rogen, Jud Apatow and their ilk to look to the laurels (and enormous sums of money) they earned making audience friendly filthy films. In my, admittedly dirty-minded, opinion, MacFarlane has hit the comic-crude jackpot here.

There’s something seditiously Disney-esque (“When You Wish Upon a Star”?) in the opening when lonely 8-year-old youngster Manley wishes for a companion and a passing shooting star brings his Christmas present of a teddy bear to life.

For a while Ted (voiced by MacFarlane) becomes a media celebrity, and appears with such American cultural icons as TV chat show icon Johnny Carson before suffering the regulation media fame burnout, no longer infesting the media and describing himself as “a famed celebrity in a minimum wage job”.

Ted still lives with his now 35-year-old best friend – played by Wahlberg - with the disreputable duo enjoying a life of drinking, smoking dope, talking dirty, watching the legendary cinematic turkey ‘Flash Gordon’ and, particularly in the case of the bear, enjoying rampant sex. (When asked whether his lack of a penis affects his sex life, there’s what must surely stand as a landmark piece of product placement when he tells his questioner ““I’ve written so many angry letters to Hasbro about that!”). Ted and Wahlberg look like living happily ever after until the bear comes between commitment-phobe Wahlberg and his girlfriend Kunis…

Excellent special effects make Ted completely convincing, Wahlberg makes an excellent Dean Martin-style foil to the bear’s OTT Jerry Lewis, Kunis holds her own and there are daft cameos from Flash Gordon himself, Sam J Jones, Ryan Reynolds, Tom Skerritt while Captain Picard himself, Stewart, narrates with perfect po-voiced luvvie perfection.

‘Ted’ is riotously rude, crude and lewd and spattered with low humour and even lower, nay totally absent, intellectual aspirations. It’s also rib-crackingly funny. MacFarlane never allows a single scintilla of good taste to infest his (mostly blue) gagfest which segues into a daft kidnapping scenario involving weirdo Ribisi and his even weirder overweight son whom kidnap victim Ted cruelly dismisses with “Back off, Susan Boyle!”

Ted himself is so shamelessly filthy-minded and foul-mouthed that he’d easily transform the Teddy Bears’ Picnic into an all-out orgy. And had he met Goldilocks instead of The Three Bears, he’d have almost certainly ended up doing porridge.

Alan Frank

USA 2012. UK Distributor: Universal. Technicolor/Prints by deluxe.
106 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 2, Swearing 2.

Review date: 03 Aug 2012