Reel Critics: 'Ted' is not your cuddly teddy bear

Seth MacFarlane has 10 years of sarcastic culture comedy under his belt as the creator of the animated TV series "Family Guy." The raucous laughs on that show begin where"The Simpsons" level of humor ends. His new outrageous R-rated movie clearly demonstrates that MacFarlane is free of TV censorship constraints.

"Ted"features a living teddy bear who is hard-drinking, foul-mouthed, sexually active and uses drugs. To say he is a bad influence on his friends is an understatement. And his best friend John is played by Mark Wahlberg, whose magical wish as a boy brought Ted to life in the first place.

But John's ongoing escapades with Ted seriously mess up John's relationship with his girlfriend (Mila Kunis). This bizarre triangle affords ample opportunity for lots of rowdy satire of modern society, love, religion, racial stereotypes, etc.

There's just enough sweetness to make the raunchy jokes palatable. But make no mistake: This is a rude, crude and boisterous exercise in adult comedy that will appeal only to fans of "The Hangover."


A fistful of dollars in 'Magic Mike'

Ladies, it's raining men. Hallelujah.

"Magic Mike," the much-awaited male stripper movie, certainly delivers the goods.

Steven Soderbergh ("Ocean's 11") directs a story based on star Channing Tatum's early stint as an exotic dancer. What could have been just a rowdy romp also has a gritty side, and is all the better for it.

The star attraction at a seedy club, Magic Mike (Tatum) is the proverbial stripper with a heart of gold. He takes a loser dude named Adam (Alex Pettyfer) under his wing as a rookie dancer, while promising Adam's disapproving sister (Cody Horn) he will look after him.

Mike has dreams of being a furniture designer, but the temptations of cash, eager women and drugs abound. The dancers work hard for the money, but their lifestyle is bound to leave them broke and busted losers.

This is Tatum's breakout role — no pun intended — and who knew he could act almost as well as he dances. There's a sweet vulnerability to him that reminded me of John Travolta's in "Saturday Night Fever."

Matthew McConaughey, as the "aging" club owner, is the real magic to this movie, his energy constantly shifting from demented, funny, comforting, threatening, or dead sexy.

JOHN DEPKO is a retired senior investigator for the Orange County public defender's office. He lives in Costa Mesa and works as a licensed private investigator.

SUSANNE PEREZ lives in Costa Mesa and is an executive assistant for a company in Irvine.

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