The five hardest things I’ve ever had to admit as a film reviewer are: 1) That I really liked In the Valley of Elah during the phase in which I literally thought Paul Haggis was Satan’s Vagina; 2) that I thought Katherine Heigl — Haggis’ successor as Satan’s Vagina — was the only redeeming part of One for the Money; 3) that I didn’t hate Michael Bay’s The Island; 4) that Charming Potato makes me swoon; and 5) that I not only enjoyed, but I laughed — at times, hysterically — at Seth MacFarlane’s Ted.
I know, right? A juvenile goddamn movie about a foul-mouthed, pot-smoking, sex-hungry teddy bear written, directed, and starring (as the voice of Ted) television’s cock-barnacle, Seth MacFarlane? You don’t have to tell me how moronic that sounds. I don’t need a lecture on what is and is not acceptable humor. You don’t have to tell me that farts aren’t funny. I don’t need to be reminded of the pus-filled boil that MacFarlane is on the hairy-ass of comedy. You don’t think I don’t know that? Fuck you, I KNOW. I’ve been doing this for eight goddamn years, and I can tell what’s appropriate and what is offensive, and Seth MacFarlane is offensive. Offensive to comedy, offensive to humanity, and offensive to rectal cancer.
But I still laughed. At least once every other minute through the first hour of Ted. I don’t know what happened. Seth MacFarlane is a rung above Tucker Max on date-rape scale of comedy and I can’t be certain that MacFarlane isn’t sneaking roofies into the concessions at every movie theater in America. All I know is that if there was a violation of my anal cavity, I must have enjoyed it because two hours after I walked into the theater, my stomach was hurting, which either meant I laughed a lot or MacFarlane’s dick punctured through my abdomen.
Look: There’s no point in my trying to explain the plot. It’s about a goddamn teddy bear who comes to life after an eight-year-old suburban Boston kid makes a wish on a shooting star, so it’s not like we’re dealing with a lot of logic and realism here, boys and girls. That kid grows up to John (Mark Wahlberg), a big-hearted, pot-smoking layabout who works at a rental car agency and managed somehow to snag the smoking-hot VP of a public relations agency, Lori (Mila Kunis). Guess what the catch is? The goddamn Teddy Bear is cock-blocking their four-year relationship. That’s basically the movie: Lori tells John to make Ted move out so that John can grow the fuck up, but John keeps backsliding into his bromance with the shit-talking Ruxpin until Lori leaves his ass, at which point John and Ted have to do something to win her back. Plus, there’s a Teddy-Bear stalker subplot featuring Giovanni Ribisi doing his best impression of a Axl Rose-cum Buffalo Bill with a pedostache. That’s it. Seth MacFarlane’s plot is about as lucid as sundowning Alzheimer’s patient after a six-pack of Zima.
But for some goddamn reason, the jokes that glue together that hairy hot box of a plot work. That has everything to do with some great pop-culture zingers and Mark Wahlberg’s chemistry WITH A FUCKING TEDDY BEAR. The two riff off of one another brilliantly, and there’s a surprisingly deep well with which to mine when it comes to horny anthropomorphic fuck bears with a deep and abiding love of marijuana. It doesn’t hurt that Ted also features the best non-speaking, 10-second cameo of all time, and a Flash Gordon sequence that will fucking go down on your funny bone and fondle your testicles. Mila Kunis is serviceable — she’s not asked a lot to do except look gorgeous, and if you’re looking for a more fully-dimensional female character, you have to remind yourself that you’re watching A SETH MACFARLANE MOVIE.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Seth MacFarlane comedy if he weren’t making offensive jokes about someone, and in Ted that includes Asians, blacks, gays, Adam Sandler, Taylor Lautner, Boston women, Quincy women, and fat people. There were probably some other jokes directed at other targets but I couldn’t hear them over the sound of my laughter.
This is not a proud day for me. I don’t like admitting that I found a Seth MacFarlane comedy funny, nor conceding that MacFarlane actually earned the laughter with idiotic, off-the-wall comedy that almost feels fresh after five years of Apatow, Rogen, and Sandler. MacFarlane isn’t hiding behind a brand of comedy that mines male insecurity and pathos for laughs; he’s making dick-and-fart jokes, transparently, unabashedly, and successfully. What’s even more unsettling is the fact that there’s some genuine heart at the center of Ted, that the relationship between Marky Mark and A TEDDY BEAR feels authentic and sweet. It’s a great fuck-you comedy, as in: Fuck you if you can’t take a joke. If you get hung up on political correctness, on the subject material, on the fucking teddd bear, on your inability to laugh at a well-executed fart joke, or your disdain for Seth MacFarlane, don’t worry. All you’ll be missing is the funniest comedy of the summer.