For better or worse, Seth MacFarlane‘s Ted is exactly what you think it’s going to be. The story of a man who lives with his walking, talking, pot smoking teddy bear is crude, rude and incredibly funny. It’s also bursting at the seams with cameos and pop culture references much like MacFarlane’s popular TV show, Family Guy. However, the story all that comedy is built around is as familiar as they come. You’ve seen it a million times. Thankfully, MacFarlane’s film is so hilarious and filled with heart that you won’t really mind the obvious story and third act that, literally, ends up in left field.

Mark Wahlberg stars as John Bennett, a man who, as a child, wished his favorite teddy bear would come to life. The wish came true and, in one of the film’s smartest turns, Ted’s identity is revealed to the world and he becomes an instant celebrity. Celebrity changes a person though and years later, Ted has become a foul mouthed, jaded, sex obsessed stuffed animal. John and Ted (voiced by and motion captured by MacFarlane) now live with John’s girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) who isn’t too keen on her 35-year-old boyfriend hanging out with his teddy bear.

As simple as the story sounds, MacFarlane – who also co-wrote the film with Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild – exhibits an uncanny talent to keep the laughs consistent and surprising. The jokes rarely let up, even when the film takes an unnecessary turn for its big finale. A knowledge of pop culture, especially Flash Gordon, will enhance the experience but really anyone with an appreciate for gross, hard R-rated humor will be chuckling more often than not.

And while Wahlberg and Kunis are both charming leads, supporting turns from Joel McCale and Giovanni Ribisi are the real standouts. Each takes their weird character to creepy, awkward depths that make the film’s surprising heart that much more apparent. MacFarlane’s penchant for nostalgia also gives the film a truly authentic feel. Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Nintendo, Teddy Ruxpin, Tiffany, Hootie and the Blowfish and the Boston Red Sox are just a few examples of the references the first-time feature director makes to ensure the film is relatable and fun for a like-minded audience.

/Film rating: 7.5 out of 10

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About the Author

Germain graduated NYU's Tisch School of the Arts Cinema Studies program in 2002 and won back to back First Place awards for film criticism from the New York State Associated Press in 2006 and 2007.

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