The new comedy "Ted," from the creator of the crude sitcom "Family Guy," wants to push as many buttons as possible.
Seth MacFarlane's film stars Mark Wahlberg alongside a computer animated teddy bear who swears, smokes pot and engages in the kind of behavior no parent would condone.
But the Boston-based ALS Therapy Alliance is furious with the comedy for using the term "Lou Gehrig's Disease" as part of a gag.
In "Ted," Mark Wahlberg tells a romantic rival, played by Joel McHale, "From one man to another, I hope you get Lou Gehrig's disease."
But in a statement, ALS Therapy Alliance says the disease, which has no cure, is not something to be made fun of and argues the film sends the wrong message.
"We want to make it clear that ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is not a laughing matter for people and families suffering from this life-threatening illness,” Traci Bisson, project research manager for ALS Therapy Alliance, said in a statement. "The punch line in the movie 'Ted' comes at the expense of people afflicted with ALS."
No, it doesn't.
Wahlberg's character is clearly wishing something terrible on McHale's character in a very crude fashion. If Wahlberg had said, "I hope you get cancer," it would have had a similar meaning - "I wish something terrible happens to you," and it wouldn't be an insult to anyone unfortunate enough to actually have cancer.
The connection being made here is absurd. And one wonders why the outrage over this particular incident began in the first place. Big Hollywood has shown repeatedly that groups representing causes like Down's syndrome often ignore genuinely offensive comments.
TheWrap.com lets the ALS Therapy Alliance have the final word, and in it there's a clear call to action, or better yet, a whiff of coercion.
“We are not condemning Seth MacFarlane,” ALS Therapy Alliance's Bisson added. “We just want to stop this alarming trend before it becomes too widespread... We hope the filmmakers move beyond the unfortunate way Lou Gehrig’s disease is used in the film and join us in finding a positive way to raise awareness and research funding to help find a cure.”
Follow Christian Toto on Twitter @TotoMovies