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“Ted 2” movie review

By Jeff Boudreaux

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In this second installment of the (very) adult parable of a boy (i.e. man) and his teddy bear, Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) is getting married to the love of his life, Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth). Ironically, his best friend Johnny (Mark Wahlberg) has just split up with his significant other (apparently because Mila Kunis didn’t want to do this sequel). Oh well, her loss since “Ted 2” is raunchier, funnier, and way more politically incorrect than the first film. And trust me, that turns out to be a major plus in this instance.

As our story goes, Ted and Tami-Lynn are inconceivably having marital problems. The obvious solution suggested by Johnny is for the two of them to conceive a child. Well, since Ted lacks the hardware to make this possible, the two nitwits try to acquire the semen of everyone from Sam Jones (“Flash Gordon”), the officiator of Ted’s wedding (!), to future NFL Hall-of-Famer Tom Brady! When all of this fails, it is revealed that Tami-Lynn cannot conceive anyway. Adoption is never discussed however, since the rest of the film concerns Ted trying to fight the state’s declaration that he isn’t a person and therefore cannot be married, employed as a cashier at the supermarket, or even a recipient of Papa John’s reward points! With the help of an aspiring, attractive, bong-smoking attorney (Amanda Seyfried), the two friends will stop at nothing to prevent Ted from being declared as “property” which would put him in danger of re-uniting with the psychotic Donny (Giovanni Ribisi) who now works as a custodian at Hasbro! Co-starring Morgan Freeman as a hotshot civil-rights attorney and John Carroll Lynch (“Zodiac”) as the CEO of Hasbro. The latter intends to clone Ted for all of the world’s children for two reasons: 1. He’ll make a hell of a lot of money since Ted is actually famous. 2. It’s really Donny’s idea, and he just creeps him out. 

One of the unusual highlights of this film is the extravagant production number during the opening credits, where a newlywed Ted is tripping the light fantastic like a furry, midget Fred Astaire. While this was an exceptional nod to the classic musicals right out of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s Dream Factory in the 1950’s, it does manage to go on a little too long and when it ended there was complete silence from the crowd. Maybe modern audiences just don’t fully understand where MacFarlane was coming from here, but as a fellow lover of show tunes, I kind of wanted to clap my hands in appreciation for his effort! Luckily, the very next scene had Ted (wearing a wife-beater) and Tami-Lynn fighting like cats and dogs (bears?) and this is where the comedy really begins.

Not every joke is a home run in this movie, but there are certainly a lot of base hits. If insensitive (or too soon) humor isn’t your thing then you might not enjoy this. I, on the other hand, applaud writer-director MacFarlane’s audacity to shatter taboos with reckless abandon and stay consistently funny. Alas, the movie becomes uneven in places where it attempts to make lightning strike twice in terms of making an emotional connection between Ted and the viewer. While that trick did inexplicably work in the first film, it just falls a little bit flat here.

In 1965, MGM released “The Loved One” based on Evelyn Waugh’s controversial novel. It was marketed as the film with “something to offend everyone.” This film more accurately represents the inappropriate nature of what a film with that tagline should be. Does that make it any less hilarious? Absolutely not. The subjects of race, sex, and homosexuality are all firmly planted in MacFarlane’s crosshairs and I’m sure for these reasons, there will be a lot of negative reviews. The truth is that it may not be pretty, but it definitely makes a case for Macfarlane as America’s most courageous comedian.

As much as I wound up enjoying this film, I finally accepted the possibility that I may be a Seth MacFarlane fan. I never really watched “Family Guy,” although what I have seen of that show did manage to amuse me. I’ll even go as far as to say that his turn as the host of the 2013 Oscars was the funniest and most refreshing act to grace the stage of the Dolby Theater since Billy Crystal revolutionized the telecast in 1990. And even though I never really expect to like his movies, I wind up doing just that. When I finally got around to watching “Ted” a couple of years back, my expectations were extremely low, but oh, was I pleasantly surprised! And for some unknown reason, they were even lower this time around. Still I couldn’t help but laugh, and consistently at that. I never would have thought in a million years that the greatest comedy team in our generation would be Mark Wahlberg and a wisecracking teddy bear, but it’s plain to see that MacFarlane has struck gold with this franchise and we surely haven’t seen the last of Ted and Johnny.

**1/2 (two and a half out of four stars)

 

 

 

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