Ted 2 (dir. Seth MacFarlane)

Posted: July 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

3 years ago Seth MacFarlane brought us “Ted”, a film that basically took what could have been the idea for a Spielberg-esque kids’ movie (boy wishes teddy bear to come to life, and it does) and aged up the kid and the bear to show what would happen.  The result was a foulmouthed film that swung wildly between very funny and kind of “meh”.  The humor was very “Family Guy”-like, including obscure pop cultural references (“Flash Gordon”) and we learned that humor that works in animation sometimes feels very weird in live action, even if we do have a digitally animated teddy bear smoking weed.

Now we have a sequel that is slightly less funny than the first film, yet feels more consistent in its laugh-to-no-laugh ratio.  Also, since Mila Kunis was pregnant, she been replaced as main female protagonist by the much better and more attractive actress Amanda Seyfried. I mention her attractiveness because, three Gollum jokes in the film aside, it is pretty clear from the direction that MacFarlane has a thing for her.  There are just enough perfectly positioned shots of her legs (occasionally in high heels) and enough material in the construction of her character to make it clear that MacFarlane’s dream woman is a version of Amanda Seyfried that smokes copious amounts of weed.

We begin this film with, Ted (voiced by MacFarlane), getting married to his tacky, Bostonian bimbo Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth). His friend John (Mark Wahlberg) is bummed because he and Kunis’s character from the first film have gotten divorced.  Within a year, Ted and Tami-Lynn’s marriage has degenerated and, well, to save it they decide to have a kid. Yup. After some unsuccessful attempts at procuring sperm for artificial insemination, they decide on adoption.  That is, until the agency declines them after finding out that Ted is legally considered property and not a person.  To fight this injustice, Ted and John hire Sam (Seyfried) as a lawyer to attempt to sue the government to recognize Ted’s personhood.  Meanwhile, as a B plot, the creepy Donny (Giovanni Ribisi) is now a janitor at Hasbro and hopes Ted is ruled property so he can kidnap him, find out what makes him alive, and have Hasbro make a bunch of other Teds, Including one for him.

That’s the plot, and on it hangs a number of comic set pieces.  A hilarious visit to an improv group, a visit to NY Comic Con, Seyfried singing a song in the woods in which animals (including some not found in that particular climate) are drawn to her voice like she’s Snow White, and some New England-centric humor (I grew up in Rhode Island) were the highlights of the film for me.  We also get a great early cameo in which a tough actor has to be assured his children’s breakfast cereal won’t get him into trouble, and another round of Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now”.

The novelty of seeing a cute and cuddly teddy bear be so foul may have worn off, but Ted is by and large still a likeable character, and both Ted and the invaluable Seyfried keep this train chugging along through not-so-funny parts as we get to the scenes that work well.  I wouldn’t say the film ever gets to hilarious heights (neither did the first one) but the film has a relatively steady supply of small chuckles and a couple strong medium laughs which make the film ultimately worth seeing.

I really just wish the plot had a bit more meat to it, and Wahlberg’s John isn’t as likeable as some of the other characters (even Tami-Lynn is kind of endearing in her own skanky way).  The film also had more options to be a bit more politically minded, but aside from a throwaway joke about Fox News and some obvious parallels to homosexual rights that we’ve been going through since Stonewall and especially since the marriage issue started gaining traction around 2003, the film settles for swear words, bong rips, and easy scatological humor whenever possible.

The film works well enough to give it a mild recommendation, assuming you’ve seen and liked the first film. B-.

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