Written by, directed by, and costarring the wildly successful Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane as the voice of the title character, Ted is defiantly what-you-see-is-what-you-get: a proudly coarse idiot comedy in which Mark Wahlberg plays a 35-year-old guy named John — Jawn, to do his chowder-y Boston accent justice — whose best friend since childhood has been Ted, a pot-smoking, horny teddy bear with a blank face and a foul mouth. John has a patient babe of a girlfriend in Lori (super-game, saucer-eyed dream date Mila Kunis). But after four years of herculean tolerance, Lori is getting tired of Ted’s loutishness and the whole three’s-company deal in the apartment — APAHTment — they all share. Predictably, breaking up with Ted and growing the eff up isn’t easy for boy-man John. He may be 35, but he’s got the life skills of a 9-year-old.
Fans of the MacFarlane thumbscrew touch — sexual raunch, vulgarity, gleeful political incorrectness, mocking pop culture references — get what they pay for here. The bear is aggressively boorish. John is a poster schlub for arrested development. A slapdash subplot involving bearnapping (and Giovanni Ribisi) adds nothing. The picture looks schlubby too — all muddy colors, bad interior decor, hectic pacing, and joyless scenes in which this clunky, inexpressive CG-animated fuzz-toy goes postal.
And yet. And yet, Gawd help me, the always surprising Mark Wahlberg throws himself into his thespian adventure with such radiant wacko energy, so full of Boston beans, that Ted is also kind of, well, impressively nuts. Kunis is cute. Celebrities who shouldn’t have bothered turn up for a couple of nifty punchlines. So even though MacFarlane insistently references the cheesy 1980 sci-fi flick Flash Gordon like an annoying, obsessive child, and even though a lot of the movie is grating dumb-assery, it’s something to behold. Stuffed with crap, but something. C+