Wouldn't it be cute if a little boy wished his teddy bear to life, and then they grew up together? Nope.
John Bennett has a problem. Maybe more than one. I mean, he's a 35-year-old chronic underachiever who smokes too much chronic and hates his job peddling rental cars. But right now, there's only one hassle that's really bugging him. You see, his live-in girlfriend, Lori, wants John to ask his best friend, Ted, to move out. And John can't bring himself to do that.
I mean, come on: He and Ted have been best buds for, like, ever. Way back when he was a 10-year-old with no friends, John made a Christmas wish and Ted came to life. Who's Ted, you ask? Ted's a teddy bear—a living, breathing stuffed animal. Naturally, Ted and John pledged to be BFFs for life.
And they were serious.
Then again, maybe Lori's got a point. Ted does steer John in the wrong direction sometimes. The drinking. The partying. The practical jokes. The time Ted brought over some hookers and one of them defecated in the corner on a dare. Not everyone has that kind of history together.
But Lori is a special girl. She and John have been dating for four years. She's pretty, patient, loving, kind, and a good sport too. OK, she went a little crazy over the hooker thing, but still.
And so, it seems John has a choice to make: Fluffy best bud or the gal he loves.
What's a guy to do?
The movie's three central characters do care for one another. Lori goes the extra mile for John. She eventually leaves him because of his foolish choices, but even then she rushes back to help him in a time of need.
Ted loves John, too, in his own way. And when he realizes just how destructive his influence over his friend is, he volunteers to disappear so John and Lori can repair their relationship.
As for John, well, he's in a state of arrested development. That leads to some extremely bad choices. But he's an earnest guy who'll put everything on the line for the ones he cares about. And eventually he realizes that he does indeed need to grow up.
We see a wedding in a church. Kids beat up a Jewish boy on Christmas Eve. In a tense situation, Ted quips, "You're never alone when you're with Christ. Jesus be with you in Christ." When Ted is first magically brought to life, John's mother exclaims, "It's a Christmas miracle! You're just like the baby Jesus." Later, after word about Ted gets out, a televangelist screams, "Look what Jesus did!"
Ted's draws a picture on a woman's bare breasts and torso at a party. He lounges on a couch with four scantily clad women in cleavage-boosting outfits. He has "sex" with a young woman in the back room of a supermarket (despite his lack of genitalia), and we see his moving furry backside and her bare legs with a pair of panties around her ankles. Ted squeezes a woman's (clothed) breast in public. And he "flirts" with a buxom grocery checker by thrusting against a cash register, mimicking oral sex with a candy bar and portraying orgasm with a lotion bottle.
Dialogue includes references to anal sex, oral sex, sex with stuffed animals, sex with celebrities, women's orgasms (complete with explicit sound effects), a gay "beat-up club" and genital size. Ted says he once wrote a letter to his manufacturer complaining about his lack of a penis. We hear multiple crude slang references to the male and female anatomy.
Two gay men kiss. John kisses Lori. They sleep in the same bed. Lori's shown wrapped in a towel after a shower.
You wouldn't think a softly padded teddy bear could cause much physical damage, but Ted unleashes some painful blows when he and John get into a brutal motel-room brawl. The pounding battle smashes mirrors and pictures, as well as a table and chairs. The fight ends with John's bare backside being whipped with an antenna and a TV set falling on his crotch.
Another raucous melee breaks out at Ted's party when a stoned reveler punches through a wall and an Asian neighbor comes running into the room with a butcher knife. Blows land and furniture is demolished in that case as well.
Young boys beat up a smaller kid. An adult John punches a boy in the face and knocks him out cold. A boy reports that his father hurt him badly when he once said a bad word. A blitzed Ted plays a game of five-finger fillet and stabs a guy's hand with his knife. A car chase results in a crash, breaking car windows and crumpling quite a bit of sheet metal. Someone gets whacked in the face with a mic stand and tumbles unconscious to the ground. Ted accidentally nails his own paw to a wall. John accidentally punches Lori in the head on the dance floor.
A stalking father and son rip off Ted's ear, slash open his stuffing-filled side and eventually tear him in half.
Crude or Profane Language
More than 50 f-words and almost as many s-words. God's and Jesus' names are blasphemed a total of about 30 times ("God" is combined with "d‑‑n" once, while "Jesus" and "Christ" are combined with an f-word).
Drug and Alcohol Content
Ted and John regularly swill beer and hard liquor. Lori joins them on occasion. Partiers drink all sorts of alcoholic beverages in several scenes. At one soiree, Ted and John go on an alcohol- and cocaine-fueled bender with actor Sam Jones. We see Ted huffing from a bong pipe a couple times. He and John smoke a joint.
Other Negative Elements
Ribald cheap shots are aimed at celebrities, homosexuals, women, overweight kids, "retards," 9/11, Christians, Jews, Muslims and ethnic minorities. Flatulence and defecation jokes also turn up. Lori has to scoop feces up off the floor.
At first glance, a goofball comedy about a dim-bulb guy and his Christmas wish-enlivened teddy bear might appear quirky enough to be endearing. And to be fair, Ted could have been that.
But it's not.
Instead this is an obnoxious and offensive one-joke skit that's stretched out over a distressingly long hour and a half. The lone punch line? It's that the cute-and-cuddly bear is actually a filthy mouthed, pot-smoking, ethnic-slurring, gay-bashing, beer-swilling degenerate misogynist who parties with prostitutes like a oversexed rock star.
Director, writer and Ted-voicer Seth MacFarlane—who's best known as the creator of Fox's foul animated TV show Family Guy—trots out an unceasing parade of all the smuttier stuff he can't quite get away with on broadcast television. Result? A veritable fire-hose stream of vulgarity aimed point-blank at an audience he assumes is eager to laugh it up.
Not exactly the stuff of childhood wishes.
Read what star Mark Wahlberg had to say about how tortured Ted is, and what happened when he showed his kids an episode of Family Guy. Look for "Telling Tales About Ted."