I love Flash Gordon. The Queen-soundtracked '80s B-movie epic is without question one of the most entertaining pieces of schmaltz to ever grace the big screen. To discover that someone - or more to the point, something - shares in that exuberance is akin to finding a soul mate, even if that thing happens to be a swears-like-a-sailor teddy bear.
Welcome to the world of Ted, an oft-uproarious raunch-com from the guy who gave us Peter Griffin's genitalia-shaped chin, Seth MacFarlane. It's a film I fully expect to have Hangover-like success - an assembled-for-your-inner-15-year-old smash that tears the stuffing out of the box office.
With Patrick Stewart providing a gleefully acerbic narration, the flick opens in 1985 with little John Bennett desperately in search of a best buddy, making a wish that brings his supersized Snuggle bear look-alike to life. The "Thunder Buddies" become inseparable as "Teddy" takes his newfound meteoric fame to the Carson show and the covers of every periodical produced during the Reagan era.
Flash forward 27 years to the present, as Ted has become a pot-smoking, potty-mouthed pest for John (Mark Wahlberg nailing his trademarked dim-witted delivery) and his gal pal Lori (Mila Kunis sporting her customary loaded-with-eye-shadow look). John tells Ted to take a hike and the remainder of the film's hijinks ensue.
When Ted is on, it's on; the laughs are mountainously massive. While several jokes are spoiled by the film's innumerable trailers, there's no lack of virginal guffaws. Fair warning about one in particular, a crude-as-crude-gets-reenactment, it's gut-busting but expect to get the evil eye from your significant other.
The aforementioned homage to Flash featuring an over-the-top cameo by Sam Jones himself - punching up his acting level to respectable from his molded-in-clay Ming-slaying days - is sit-and-grin stuff for the Gen-X set.
CGI is seamless throughout, the bear is there; an obvious but crucial requirement for the concept to score. As for MacFarlane's voice, it may have you drifting into Quahog at first but it quickly becomes as organic as the visual effects.
While there are elements that MacFarlane should have been left on the editing floor - a subplot involving a serial killer-esque Giovanni Ribisi at the forefront - Ted is largely a winner. The lapses in laughs are made bearable (couldn't resist) by a zinger of monumental proportions mere moments away.
If the moviegoing experience is based on pure entertainment value, consider Ted to be a shrewd investment of your cash.