'Ted' a plush romp in bacchanalia

Mark Wahlberg shares the screen with plush buddy Ted. (COURTESY UNIVERSAL PICTURES)

Mark Wahlberg shares the screen with plush buddy Ted. (COURTESY UNIVERSAL PICTURES)

Liz Braun, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:33 AM ET

One of the best things about a movie like Ted is the experience of sitting in a theatre and hearing people laugh out loud like that.

Seth MacFarlane's feature directorial debut is a rude, crude, inspired comedy about a guy and his teddy bear, a stuffed animal willed into being alive by the little boy who got him for Christmas. That boy becomes an adult (Mark Wahlberg), and the relationship with his childhood teddy bear is simple: they are best friends.

Ted starts with a flashback to his transformation from cuddly toy to walking, talking, 'real' companion. The story introduces John Bennet as a needy, lonely little boy who fervently wishes his teddy bear could be real.

Voila! Through the magic of Hollywood, Ted becomes real, little John's playmate and best friend. Time passes. John grows up to be a regular guy (and Mark Wahlberg) in Boston, maybe a bit of a knucklehead but assistant manager of a rental car outlet and boyfriend to Lori (Mila Kunis).

Ted has grown up to be a stuffed animal who smokes dope, swears and brings home prostitutes. Ted is good-hearted, maybe, but he has a filthy mouth and he's never politically correct. He may remind you of many of the characters on Family Guy.

Conflict arises. John's girlfriend, Lori, wants John to grow up and get a life. That involves separating himself from Ted, who has to go out and get his own apartment. But Lori can't keep John and Ted apart, because their childhood bond is so strong. When a shady character (Giovanni Ribisi) wants to kidnap Ted and keep him as a companion for his own son, John jumps into action.

There are several sources of humour in Ted -- the sight and sound gag of a skirt-chasing, mouthy, macho little stuffed bear; Wahlberg's earnest, guileless character; some very sharp pop culture references; and bizarre and hilarious appearances from people such as Sam J. Jones in character as Flash Gordon, Ryan Reynolds as a gay stranger and singer/songwriter Norah Jones as one of Ted's former squeezes. The writing is fabulously rude, sexist, racist and funny, and everyone in Ted seems to be having a very good time.

It isn't perfect. The movie has its fair share of soggy sequences and some of the jokes seem tired. Still, any movie that makes you believe -- truly believe -- that a stuffed animal is thrashing Mark Wahlberg in a knock-down fight is a movie you should probably see.

Four stars (out of five)

This film is rated 14A


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