Neptune fuzzes out whatever it touches. So it’s not surprising that a fuzzy-wuzzy teddy bear – a huggable plush toy that typically blurs out the harder-edged discomforts of toddlerdom and childhood – is a good Neptunian stand-in for super-blurry imaginary friends.
In the movie “Ted,” directed by “Family Guy”’s Seth MacFarlane, the teddy bear that’s given to the young John Barrett in the mid-’80s, turns into a walking, talking creature after the socially alienated kid makes a Christmas Eve wish for one true friend. The newly come-to-life teddy bear, who’s named Ted, scares the wits out of the kids parents, and grows up along side his master. Just a tad too closely.
At 35, the adult John (Mark Wahlberg) is knee-deep in Neptunian stuff – co-dependency and boundary issues top the list – with his foul-mouthed, bong-using and sex-obsessed bear mate, voiced with unapologetic crudity by MacFarlane himself. It seems that John took his own childhood promise – of never ever letting his thunder-buddy best friend leave him – way too literally. The notion of merging – where one entity ends and the other begins – is Neptune territory, as well, and John and Ted are truly joined at the cosmic hip.
The substance of the movie involves manchild John’s trying to figure out what’s real – obviously his patient girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) and their relationship – and what matters most to him. Everything else seems predicated on John’s succumbing to the vulgar charms of Ted, which includes a bizarre hook-up with the actor Sam Jones who portrayed the duo’s mutual movie hero, Flash Gordon. This raucous confluence of the past and the present underscores that John lacks the Saturnine boundaries to shed childhood – and childish – things. For John, Ted is akin to a Neptunian addiction.
Although Ted is an apt name for a teddy bear, its ancient long form Theodore – which means a gift from the deity – is also suffused with Neptune, which evokes the transcendent. Trouble is, maneuvering the utopian, timeless realm of Neptune – even when it’s in the form of a ratty plush toy – causes mayhem, especially when you’re too fuzzed out to realize it.
Rating: ♆+ (Neptune-plus)