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June 29, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Raunchy? Yes. Funny? Yes. That’s the way most of the nation’s critics have voted in their reviews of Seth MacFarlane’s Ted. In fact, Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times minces no superlative: “The funniest movie character so far this year is a stuffed teddy bear. And the best comedy screenplay so far is Ted,” he writes. The movie, which features a plush, potty-mouthed teddy bear in the title role, is definitely not for kids the critics note (it’s R-rated), but there are plenty of gags that resonate with adult audiences — as they do on MacFarlane’s animated Family Guy TV series. Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times notes that the same sort of “pop culture cleverness is there, the general lack of decorum most certainly is.” She acknowledges that at times “the jokes verge on the sour, or even rancid.” Her advice: “To fully appreciate Ted it’s best to simply forgive its bad behavior upfront and save any apologies for liking it until later.” Elizabeth Weitzman reacts similarly in the New York Daily News: “Family Guy fans will find that MacFarlane’s brand of skewed humor translates easily to the big screen, built as it is on razor-sharp pop-culture references, unabashedly bad taste and surprising flashes of sweetness. Not every joke scores, of course. But the hits are worth the misses.” Even the negative reviews acknowledge that the film includes some wildly funny scenes. But A.O. Scott in the New York Times concludes that features films don’t represent “a hospitable form” for MacFarlane. “He has no particular visual knack, little interest in storytelling and nothing better to do with his naughty bear besides stuff him into a soft, sentimental comedy that seems almost proud of its lack of wit or conviction.” Amy Biancolli in the San Francisco Chronicle agrees. “For all of its transgressive plush-toy sex and screw-’em humor, the plot is pretty standard stuff,” she writes. And Ann Hornaday in the Washington Post, while admitting that “there’s no denying the subversive jolt of witnessing a sweet-looking stuffed animal sucking down bong hits, drinking, swearing a blue streak and making lascivious moves when he spots an attractive woman,” finally concludes that the movie is probably “best enjoyed while enjoying the same mind-altering substances its protagonists ingest.” However, she writes, once the novelty of the talking toy wears off, “so does the buzz.”