Back in the 1980s, which incidentally is when body-swap comedies such as Big were at their most popular, a suburban child called John wished that his teddy bear could talk, so they might be best friends forever.
Cut to the present day, and John is a 35-year-old stoner (Mark Wahlberg) who still – to the annoyance of his girlfriend – lives with his talking bear Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane), who is a former celebrity with a liking for weed and prostitutes.
This set-up relies on the reductio-ad-absurdum logic that informs so many of the jokes punctuating each episode of Family Guy and MacFarlane’s other animated television shows. But there isn’t the same high gag-rate. And everything else about the structure and plot of Ted is disappointingly conventional, too – John must learn to put away childish things in order to win back his girlfriend.
Thankfully, the character of Ted still allows MacFarlane to air plenty of cheerfully offensive material, and his pop-culture references (Tiffany, Tom Skerritt, a duck called James Franco) still derive power from their weird specificity.