We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
The funniest movie character so far this year is a stuffed teddy bear. And the best comedy screenplay so far is "Ted," the saga of the bear's friendship with a 35-year-old manchild. I know; this also was hard for me to believe. After memories of Mel Gibson's bond with a sock puppet, "Ted" was not high on the list of movies I was impatient to see.
The opening scenes find the right tone. A treacly narrator (Patrick Stewart) describes a Christmas that reminds us of a "A Christmas Story," except for the jolts of four-letter words and anti-PC one-liners. We meet young John Bennett, the most unpopular kid in the neighborhood, so disliked that while a Jewish kid is being beaten up, John feels envious.
All young John wants is a true friend for life. For Christmas, his parents give him an enormous teddy bear the size of a first grader, and that night under the sheets with a flashlight, John asks Teddy to be his real and true forever friend. Teddy comes to life and agrees.
The miracle of a walking, talking teddy bear of course makes the little stuffed creature an overnight celebrity, and he appears on the Carson show. But his fame fades ("like Corey Feldman," the narrator explains), and he settles in as John's roommate for life. Years pass. Teddy is now a little frayed, and John (Mark Wahlberg), at 35, has a counter job at a rental car agency. Against all odds, he also has a fragrant girlfriend named Lori Collins (Mila Kunis), who has been waiting four years for a marriage proposal.