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Ted

Teddy bears can be pigs

© Universal Pictures

Young John Bennet (Bretton Manley) didn’t have many friends, so for Christmas his parents bought him a stuffed bear named Ted (Seth MacFarlane: Family Guy). Thanks to the magic of the season and the power of a child’s wish, Ted became real.
    At first, Ted is a godsend, giving John confidence and companionship. Twenty-seven years later, however, Ted keeps 35-year-old John (Mark Wahlberg:  ) stuck in permanent ­adolescence.
    Ted and John remain best buds. They drink together, skip work together and get stoned together. Everything would be peachy keen if it weren’t for one problem: John has a girlfriend. (Mila Kunis: Family Guy). Lori, evil example of womanhood that she is, wants John to grow up and spend time with her instead of his crude, creepy teddy bear.
    Women, aren’t they just the worst?
    Will our hero ever grow up? Will Ted ever stop speaking about women like they’re sexual commodities? Will Lori ever realize she can do better?
    Ted is a rude, crude flick that doesn’t offer even one original joke. Much like MacFarlane’s other baby, Family Guy, Ted relies on referencing the works of others, stealing bits from every popular work from Airplane! to They Live to Flash Gordon.
    The plot follows the standard, dude must grow up and learn to choose his girl over his friends. This time the loser friend is a fuzzy, cuddly bear. That the bear has a foul mouth and likes sex is Ted’s biggest joke. Admittedly, the first time you hear a fluffy toy utter the F-word, it’s shocking but funny. After ­nearly two hours of expletive-laced dialog, you want to sew the bear’s mouth shut.
    Jokes appeal to the lowest common denominator. If you think people being gay is hilarious or if you giggle at a Jew or Muslim joke, Ted will send you into fits of hysteria. Everyone else will wonder if they’ve landed in a time warp.
    As for the actors, Mark Wahlberg speaks believably to an inanimate object. But John is less a character than a shlubby stereotype. MacFarlane offers his own voice as Ted, as in his cartoon shows. While none of the actors are bad, they can’t overcome the complete horror that is Ted’s script. Only Giovanni Ribisi escapes unscathed, turning in a wonderfully weird performance that’s the show’s comedic highlight.
    If Ted is the best kids can do when they wish their toys to life, let’s hope they get iPads for Christmas.

Unfunny Comedy • R • 106 mins.