The movie's title is "Ted." It won its opening weekend with a $54 million gross at the box office. Clearly, MacFarlane's fans cannot consume enough of his pop-culture sewage.
"Ted" is a fitting metaphor for MacFarlane himself. He is the magical creation everyone in Hollywood seems to find as cute as a furry stuffed animal. He's made his fortune by putting the crudest, most offensive utterances in the mouths of babies, dogs and completely idiotic man-children. Hollywood is never having to grow up.
So the idea that this movie would center on a real man-boy named John Bennett who must grow up seems odd. Why grow up? Perpetual adolescence clearly has worked for some people. Here again, MacFarlane is Ted, holding back the real slackers by keeping them in a state of mental pimple-popping for his own personal gain.
This is the plot: As a boy, Bennett has no friends, so on Christmas night he wishes on a shooting star that his teddy bear could really talk to him and be his best friend -- and then it happens. But it's supposedly much funnier when the movie fast forwards 27 years, and Bennett and his teddy bear are pot-smoking losers who watch too much television.
Now as one of Hollywood's most vicious atheists, it would seem like quite a sellout for MacFarlane to make a movie with a "magic wishes" plot centering on Christmas night, no less. This movie pounds away with the usual and very tired Whack-a-Mole jokes about sex, drugs and bodily functions, presumably because it can't really plot its way out of a paper bag. Even the wish-upon-a-star thing is as old as "Pinocchio."
Ask the film critics. A.O. Scott of The New York Times believes some overgrown spoiled brat in Tinseltown is phoning it in. "The sin of 'Ted' is not that it is offensive but that it is boring, lazy and wildly unoriginal. If Triumph the Insult Comic Dog ever got a hold of Ted, there would be nothing left but a pile of fluff and a few scraps of fur."
That's our cultural elite for you. There's nothing wrong with being offensive, but there's something dreadfully wrong with being boring and unoriginal.