Women have been trying get their men to put away their childish things since Eve had to nag Adam to come shopping for a new fig leaf.
But none of those aging ''Peter Pans'' have anything on John Bennett, who is still attached to his teddy bear at age 35.
In John's defense, Ted is smarter than your average bear. Lonely 8-year-old John makes a Christmas wish for his teddy bear to come to life, and the wish is granted. The two become inseparable ''thunder buddies,'' helping each other through their mutual fear of thunderstorms and sharing everything.
This isn't ''Harvey'' or one of those stories where only John can hear Ted talk. Everyone can see and hear Ted, and the talking bear becomes an '80s celebrity, even making an appearance on ''The Tonight Show'' with Johnny Carson (a clever piece of ''Forrest Gump''-like editing). But the novelty wears off - with most folks, at least - and Ted gets filed away with Corey Feldman and other '80s has-beens.
Flash-forward 27 years later, the two still are best buddies, although the bear also has ''matured.'' Ted now is a dope-smokin', hooker-chasin' horndog (hornbear?), even though he is not anatomically correct, something he says he's complained to Hasbro about repeatedly.
John also has Lori, his beautiful and patient girlfriend of four years, but it's time for her to issue the ultimatum she's been trying to avoid - it's her or the bear.
STARS: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Joel McHale, Giovanni Ribisi, Patrick Warburton and the voice of Seth MacFarlane.
STORYLINE: An 8 -year-old boy gets his Christmas wish and his teddy bear comes to life. Now, he's 35 years old and still hanging out with the bear.
DIRECTOR: Seth MacFarlane
R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language and some drug use.
''Ted'' is both outrageous and hilarious, often at the same time. It doesn't fully exploit the potential of its ''leaving childish things behind'' premise beyond the obvious metaphor, but it actually has a narrative arc and storytelling momentum. Those two things noticeably are lacking on ''Family Guy,'' the animated series created by Seth MacFarlane, who directed and co-wrote ''Ted'' and provides the voice for its title character.
I can't stand ''Family Guy''; the ''South Park'' episode where they revealed that ''Family Guy'' was written by manatees putting balls with words on them into a random joke generator was a perfect evisceration of the show's scattershot attempts at shock humor. But I thoroughly enjoyed ''Ted.''
Its obsessions (the cheesy 1980 film ''Flash Gordon'') and diversions (Giovanni Ribisi and Aedin Mincks as a creepy father and son who want Ted for their own) actually pay off in the context of the story. ''Smart'' seems like the wrong adjective for a movie that gleefully revels in scatalogical jokes and stars a stoned, horny plush toy, but it fits.
As funny as MacFarlane is as Ted, Mark Wahlberg makes the film work as John. His interactions with the bear are so natural and convincing that it makes it easier to accept the fantastic premise. He also proves to be a deft physical comedian, particularly in a knock-down brawl with the stuffed animal.
Mila Kunis also pulls off a deft balancing act as Lori. This character often comes off as a whiny shrew in buddy comedies - the woman who comes between the bros - but Kunis and the script by MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild avoid reducing her to that.
''Ted'' is jam packed with pop culture references, smart-mouthed one liners, quick visual gags, surprising cameos and bits that seem destined to make it this summer's big comedy hit.
Don't be fooled by the cuddly bear on the poster, though. This is a comedy that earns its R rating, which is sure to delight those who enjoy watching MacFarlane's inch past the boundaries of network television each week.