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Ted 2 (2015)

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Score: 7/10

Genre: Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 55 min.

Release Date: June 26th, 2015 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Seth MacFarlane Actors: Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried, Jessica Barth, Giovanni Ribisi, Morgan Freeman, Sam Jones, Patrick Warburton, Michael Dorn, Liam Neeson

“T

ed 2” capitalizes on bawdy humor punctuated by random interjections of peripheral observations, exactly in line with the previous picture. Though anticipated and repetitious, creator Seth MacFarlane has mastered this indiscriminate tenor so well that the majority of gags elicit howls in spite of (or, perhaps, specifically because of) their tawdriness. The primary players all contribute capably to the comedy, but it’s the foul-mouthed teddy bear who is clearly the main attraction and in possession of the best material. Thanks to excellent special effects and a premise that draws little attention to the lunacy of his origins, the furry critter fits in just like another person – an ironic occurrence considering that the film centers on the diminutive protagonist being forced to prove his humanity.

A year after Ted (Seth MacFarlane) marries his girlfriend Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth), the couple find their relationship in a downward spiral. Determining that having a child will rejuvenate their love for each other, the two set about with the adoption process, but soon hit a roadblock when the state of Massachusetts designates Ted as property and not a human being. With the help of his best friend John (Mark Wahlberg) and ambitious rookie lawyer Samantha (Amanda Seyfried), Ted must battle in and out of court to prove his right to be acknowledged as a person.

It begins with marriage and divorce and civil rights issues, which seem a bit too serious for a film so utterly environed in fantasy. This time around, the talking bear doesn’t blend into a background of normal (or conspicuously mediocre) lives, but rather takes center stage as an item of nonsensical fiction, particularly when he’s integrated into those aforementioned significant human labors. With the opening title sequence demonstrating director Seth MacFarlane’s flair for showy musical numbers – a staple of his “Family Guy” TV show – this follow-up becomes more and more like a few episodes of that cartoon strangely translated into live action. In fact, many of the non sequiturs and quick pans to unconnected visual jokes are so much like those trademark gimmicks seen in “Family Guy” that “Ted 2” almost feels as if it would be more at home in 2D, where realism isn’t expected and boundaries are easily crossed.

As for the humor, some of the most outrageous bits happen during serious scenes. Jokes cracked in the middle of a courtroom are funnier because of the somber setting, but are also out of place when Ted’s lawsuit has genuine consequences, creating an uneven pacing. The satire of the American Dream, summarized through martial problems, a solution for those difficulties residing in having a baby, the headache of adopting with criminal and drug charges, and eventually turning to litigation, would be a significant framework for a comic tale, but it gets lost in unrelated pranks. Much of the plot appears scripted around specific laughs, as if many of the ideas existed long before any storyline. Fortunately, MacFarlane is confident in his humor and, though it’s regularly juvenile or crass (consisting of recurring notes on sex, porn, drugs, genitalia, and insults), he knows how to execute it, landing quite a few universally amusing punch lines not too steeped in constrictive pop culture or ‘80s references.

– The Massie Twins

 

 



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