"Ted" reviews: Critics' take on the new comedy

Mark Wahlberg and a talking stuffed bear in the comedy "Ted," directed by Seth MacFarlane. Universal Pictures

Mark Wahlberg and a talking stuffed bear in the comedy "Ted," directed by Seth MacFarlane.
Universal Pictures
(CBS News) Seth MacFarlane hits the big screen today in the form of a teddy bear.

Pictures: Mark Wahlberg
Pictures: Mila Kunis

"Ted," the debut film from the "Family Guy" creator, stars Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis and a cuddly bear named Ted. Except he's not always so cuddly.

Wahlberg portrays John Bennett, a grown man whose best friend is the talking and walking teddy bear. As a child, Bennett made a wish that his stuffed toy could talk. The wish came true. The bear comes to life, and the two make a pact to stay buddies for life. But that promise is challenged when Bennett's real life -- as an adult -- gets in the way.

Ted, voiced by MacFarlane, is every bit as raunchy and crude as you might expect in the R-rated comedy.

There are a few surprise cameos and plenty of cultural references in the film, written and directed by MacFarlane.

Film review aggregator site, Rotten Tomatoes, gave it a 65 percent rating. Here's what a few critics have to say.

Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post: "The problem is that MacFarlane's sneering, jokey humor and wearyingly coarse toy character can't sustain interest beyond that initial outrageous guffaw. And a third-act plot twist feels like padding rather than motivated by genuine narrative -- wait, I just remembered this is a review of a movie about a talking teddy bear."

Elizabeth Weitzman of the New York Daily News gave "Ted" 3 out of 5 stars, noting: "Not every joke scores, of course. But the hits are worth the misses, and anyway, the movie's true genius is in the way its outlandish scenario is played so perfectly straight. By following his own twisted logic with unwavering dedication, MacFarlane simultaneously uses, mocks and expands Hollywood conventions."

Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave it a C+, writing: "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."

Robert Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: "The funniest movie character so far this year is a stuffed teddy bear. And the best comedy screenplay so far is "Ted," the saga of the bear's friendship with a 35-year-old manchild. I know; this also was hard for me to believe. After memories of Mel Gibson's bond with a sock puppet, 'Ted' was not high on the list of movies I was impatient to see."

Kyle Smith, New York Post: "The ridiculously funny, outlandish and inventive first film directed by 'Family Guy' creator Seth MacFarlane, who also co-wrote the screenplay, begins much like 'E.T.' (and 'Big'). After a lonely little Boston boy wishes his teddy bear were real, it starts walking and talking."

Peter Debruge, Variety: "[A] predictably irreverent satire that's sweeter and, sadly, less funny than you might expect."

Tell us: Will you go see "Ted"?

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