Matthew Lickona 1 p.m., July 22
Once his 15 minutes of fame pass, an animatronic plush toy named Ted matures into a scruffy Boston bear who parties harder than his Kennedy namesake. His handler is the confident and overly charming Mark Wahlberg (in a role better suited for Paul Dano or even Jonah Hill). After the novelty of watching a computer generated toy work blue wears off, Ted contains about 10 minutes' worth of laughs. That’s a pretty good ratio for a half-hour sitcom, but not a 105-minute feature. Writer/director Seth MacFarlane may talk a convincing game, but when it comes to showing his hand, the small screen bad boy goes "all in" with a pair of Hollywood conventions: an unnecessary romantic subplot involving Mila Kunis, and a sociopathic stalker (Giovanni Ribisi). A first-reel logjam of references to E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Jurassic Park suggested that MacFarlane was about to score major points by taking a dump in Spielbergia. But instead, he waters Steve's lawn with a urine-scented drizzle of indebtedness. Ted isn't patterned after an invisible bunny named Harvey. He's Dirty E.T., a cursing CG sock-puppet that MacFarlane (like his idol) ultimately employs as a pathetic means of eliciting pathos. 2012.
- Big Screen Review • July 2, 2012