June 29, 2012 in Features

MacFarlane’s ‘Ted’ nearly unbearable

Roger Moore McClatchy
 

Ted, voiced by Seth MacFarlane, Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis in a scene from “Ted.”
(Full-size photo)

You know what’s funny? Seth “Family Guy” MacFarlane making fun of Adam Sandler movies. “Unwatchable” he says.

That’s freaking hilarious, that is. I mean, dude’s made a movie where he plays a foul-mouthed talking teddy bear, where he does funny voices, riffs on other movies for many of his laughs, drops F-bombs for other laughs, fills the movie with celeb cameos and gay jokes.

Take away the animation and MacFarlane IS Adam Sandler.

“Ted” is the movie that has MacFarlane voicing an animated teddy, lifelong pal to John (Mark Wahlberg), who was once a lonely kid who got a very special wish for a very special friend that came to life. And it is out there – Abe Lincoln killing vampires out there. There are a few left field laughs and a lot – a LOT – of eye-rolling overreaches for laughs. I’d put the giggles-to-groaners ratio at 1-4 here.

It’s about growing up and putting away childish things, because that’s what John needs to do.

He needs to put down the comic books, lay off the weed, take responsibility for his own screw-ups and stop confiding in his now-adult stuffed pal Ted, who still gets him through scary thunderstorms, and now, 25 years on, gets stoned with him morning, noon and night.

And that chorus of crickets you hear is what would happen if MacFarlane’s fanbase took that “put down childish things” message to heart.

John’s a Bostonian who can’t quite get his life and career going, can’t quite pull the trigger on proposing to his longtime love – Lori (Mila Kunis). Ted, his pothead pal with the Teddy Ruxpin face and assorted MacFarlane voices, is holding him back. All Ted has to do is say, “I got the ‘Cheers’ box set,” or that the star of that beloved bomb “Flash Gordon” (Sam Jones) has shown up at a party, and John is on his way, responsibilities be damned.

And that’s all there is to this. See Teddy party with hookers. See Teddy have sex with the trashy check-out tramp at the supermarket where he gets a job. Hear Teddy and John have a cocaine-fueled debate about whether or not their dream restaurant would be “restricted.”

Yeah, that’s MacFarlane’s idea of “equal opportunity offending.” He’s got to balance a blizzard of gay jokes with the odd “white trash” and “rich black people” (A Cristal champagne joke) and Jew joke.

Wahlberg and Kunis have a little chemistry, but there’s no time for that. The cameos are cute – Ryan Reynolds and Patrick Warburton and Norah Jones and Tom Skerritt (embarrassed) show up, Patrick Stewart narrates. The movies they pay tribute to – “Airplane,” “Bridget Jones,” “Flash Gordon” – almost get an easy laugh or two.

But seriously, this is Sandler-level swill, and if MacFarlane’s TV crowd shows up, sober (hopefully), they may just see that the naughty animator, and not just his stupid bear, have no clothes.

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