Director: Seth MacFarlane
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried, Jessica Barth, Giovanni Ribisi, Morgan Freeman, Patrick Warburton, Michael Dorn, Sam J. Jones, John Slattery, John Carroll Lynch
Seth MacFarlane’s 2012 film about a raunchy but cute teddy bear named Ted did so well that it has naturally spawned a sequel. People had raved like it was the best comedy that had graced the silver screen in decades. While I enjoyed it, I wasn’t glowing that strongly about it like others. Ted 2 picks up with Ted (voiced by MacFarlane) who has now gotten married to his sweetheart Tami-Lynn (Bartha). A year has passed, and their marriage is on the rocks with constant fighting and financial woes. Ted is given the poor advice that having a baby may just be the key to bringing them closer together. Ted will naturally have to find a sperm donor, as he is a bear and can’t naturally reproduce with Tami-Lynn.
They face legal troubles along the way when the state takes away all of Ted’s rights when it’s ruled that he is just a “property” and not a real person. With the help of his best friend John (MacFarlane) and his new lawyer Samantha L. Jackson (Seyfried), they team up to fight for the right to legalize Ted and call him a person. What they don’t know is that his old stalker Donny (Ribisi) shows up and is sneaking behind their back with Hasbro to steal him again in order to use him to make copycat bears.
Comedy sequels are tricky. I would even claim they are harder to do than a big budget franchise film. You waste time if you repeat the same jokes and expect the same laughs from your audience. We all remember what a debacle The Hangover Part 2 was a few years ago. I don’t think Ted is all that clever of a premise to warrant two different movies, but Seth MacFarlane is an extremely smart comedian who understands the need to try something different. He attempts a different story, while making it somewhat culturally relevant at the same time. I applaud him for always going to the extreme with his jokes. Sometimes it’s so cringe-worthy you feel slightly embarrassed that you laughed so hard when you feel like you shouldn’t. I’d say laugh away as he’s probably saying that thought you once had before but were too afraid to say out loud.
He has an interesting mix of having this bite and pointed commentary, but at the same time he uses such raunchy and dirty humor. It’s very tricky to do right as it doesn’t always work or go hand in hand. His style is very specific and won’t appeal to everyone. The movie is filled with dick jokes, marijuana jokes, and some jokes that border on racist depending how open you are to that material. If you’ve ever watched his animated show, “Family Guy”, you probably know his humor. I got a kick out of all of the pop culture references that are copiously used throughout. Anything and everyone seems to be fair game from The Breakfast Club to Ernest Goes to Jail, The Great Gatsby, Rocky, and a variety of comic-con characters in between.
With MacFarlane directing, acting, and writing his own movie, he needed a good editor along the way to reel him back in. A majority of the film is quite hysterical, but it gets clunky when it comes to the Donny subplot. I get that it’s a way to bring back a character from the first film, but it’s not needed here. The plot should remain about his fight to be considered a person. This character’s not used enough in the first half of the film and then all of a sudden the plot shifts to use him more later on but it just doesn’t work and isn’t funny causing the pacing to come to a screeching halt. It’s a waste of Giovanni Ribisi and John Carroll Lynch’s (the head of Hasbro) time.
Amanda Seyfried joins Wahlberg and company this time around and both are game for anything. It’s nice to see them both be able to poke fun at their images a bit. Seyfried is referred to as Gollum a number of times as Ted thinks she looks like him. Wahlberg has a rather unfortunate accident happen to him at a sperm donor clinic. Morgan Freeman and John Slattery have bit parts as hot-shot lawyers. Even Liam Neeson pops up briefly as one of Ted’s grocery store customers. His few minutes on screen are hysterical as he plays into his macho-action star persona. Plus, there are other fun cameos along the way that don’t feel too distracting. MacFarlane’s audience will surely get a hoot out of the latest Ted adventure, but I think we can be done with this character. I will say that it is leagues better than his last movie, A Million Ways to Die in the West.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? It’s slightly better than the first film.
RATING: 3.5 out of 5 Ticket Stubs