Ted

Ted

***1/2

 

I’m so glad that “Ted” is the blockbuster comedy hit of the summer. And not just because “Ted” is hysterically funny (it is) and the best date movie I’ve seen in a long time (it is).

I am especially glad because Seth MacFarlane is finally becoming a household name.

You know who Seth MacFarlane is, right? He is the creator of “Family Guy” and “American Dad,” the two best animated comedies on network television.

Seth MacFarlane is the voice of some of the most interesting cartoon characters of all time.

There’s Stewie Griffin: a brilliant but lonely baby. Stewie used to be obsessed with matricide and world domination but would now settle for a romantic relationship with his best friend.

There’s Brian Griffin: a drunken, self-absorbed dog. Brian fancies himself a great writer and a liberal intellectual, but mostly he mooches off his owner and lusts after bimbos.

There’s Roger: a flamboyant, hedonistic alien. During his time on earth, Roger fought for the Viet Cong, hooked up with Ricky Martin, and invented the drug Ecstasy.

For years I figured that Seth MacFarlane was merely a childish kook with a penchant for silly cartoon creatures. Finally, I figured out the subtle genius that inspired his eccentric characters.

MacFarlane has discovered a comedy loophole. An adult human character can’t be too crazy or behave too anti-socially. However, the censors and the American public are willing to put up with much more outrageousness if it is coming from an animated dog, a gay alien…or an adorable Teddy Bear.

Seth MacFarlane is the voice of Ted: a 2-foot tall stuffed animal that a little boy brought to life with a magical Christmas wish. They become best friends for life.

30 years later, the magic has worn off and Ted and John (Mark Wahlberg) are just another pair of semi-intelligent, underemployed working-class Boston guys. They are co-dependent, irresponsible, foul-mouthed, pot-smoking slackers.

That’s fine for Ted – because he’s a teddy bear. For John it’s a problem. John’s girlfriend lays down an ultimatum: it’s either her or the bear.

But the plot doesn’t really matter. Like most great mainstream comedies, the story is just the backdrop for two hours of nonstop laughs.

“Ted” is easily the funniest movie of 2012. Everyone who isn’t offended by dirty language and racial humor will like it. Hmmm. Actually, you should only see this movie if you specifically enjoy bawdy language and ethnic jokes. That teddy bear curses a lot.

 

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