Comedy Film Review

'Ted 2' Film Review: Seth MacFarlane does 'Selma,' only cuddlier, and with a lot more cursing

June 25, 2015Ben Mk



   
Usually, when you think "talking teddy bear," you imagine it being a child's imaginary friend. But what would happen if that child grew up, never having outgrown the bond between him and his cuddly best pal? That was the premise behind 2012's Ted, which cast Mark Wahlberg as man-child John Bennett, with co-writer/director (and Family Guy creator) Seth MacFarlane providing the voice of the titular teddy bear. Now the Thunder Buddies are back in Ted 2. And while this sequel doesn't necessarily innovate, it does a pretty good job of recapturing what made the first film so special.

It's been three years since we last saw John and Ted, and a lot has changed in their lives. Of course, John married his sweetheart, Lori (Mila Kunis). And now Ted too is getting hitched to the woman of his dreams, fellow grocery store clerk Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth). But if you think Lori and Tami-Lynn will be hosting dinner parties for each other's husbands anytime soon, think again. Ted 2 finds John newly-divorced and Ted's marriage on the rocks, with the latter situation providing the impetus for the foul-mouthed shenanigans and gross-out gags this time around.

When Ted and Tami-Lynn decide the best way to fix their marriage is to have a child, Ted enlists John's help — first to try and procure sperm from their celebrity role models, then to be the donor himself. And when both those plans fail miserably, Ted and Tami-Lynn turn to adoption. That's when Ted discovers that the state of Massachusetts won't let them — because he's technically property, not a person — and the ensuing demoralization that befalls Ted prompts him and John to hire pot-smoking newbie lawyer Samantha L. Jackson (Amanda Seyfried) so Ted can sue the government for his civil rights.

Long story short, the script by MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild leaves the door wide open for jokes about dicks, pot and bodily excretions (of which there are aplenty), laugh-out-loud celebrity cameos (from the likes of Liam Neeson, Jay Leno and Tom Brady) and pop culture references galore (culminating in an all-out "nerd fight" at New York Comic-Con), as Samantha hopelessly tries to school John and Ted on the intricacies of America's legal system, before the trio end up on a road trip from Boston to New York City to seek out powerhouse attorney Patrick Meighan (Morgan Freeman), Ted's last best hope for proving his personhood in the eyes of the law.

Needless to say, their journey is about as un-pc as a movie can get, especially a scene in which Ted and company pay a visit to a local comedy club and hurl painfully inappropriate "suggestions" like 9/11, Charlie Hebdo, Germanwings and Bill Cosby to the hapless improv troupe on-stage. With that in mind, it's a minor miracle that when Ted 2 tries its hand at sincerity — as it is want to do during impassioned courtroom speeches that liken Ted's situation to that of Dred Scott, making non-ironic references to the Emancipation Act and the Thirteenth Amendment along the way — it somehow manages to pull it off.

Unfortunately, the filmmakers aren't always so lucky. The all-too-predictable romance that develops between John and Samantha is mostly a bore to sit through; and a tacked-on subplot that sees Giovanni Ribisi's sleazeball character from the first film, Donny, hatching another hair-brained scheme to kidnap Ted gets stale pretty quickly. Still, the heart and soul of the story — Ted's friendship with John — remains intact; and as for Ted himself, he remains as lovably offensive as ever. Of course, Ted 2 isn't for everyone, but for audiences who enjoy their crassness with a side of compassion, it's more than bearable.


Ted 2 releases June 26th, 2015 from Universal Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use. Its runtime is 1 Hr. 55 Mins.






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