Ted, released in 2012, was a comedy about a perverted, pot-smoking, beer-guzzling, politically incorrect teddy bear. Ted 2, in theaters now, is a comedy about a perverted, pot-smoking, beer-guzzling, politically incorrect teddy bear.
Ted was hilarious, albeit a little too long. Ted 2 also is hilarious, albeit a little too long.
So, is there any discernible difference between the two films? Yes. For one, the uber-talented Amanda Seyfried replaces Mila Kunis. There also are several more extremely effective celebrity cameos than in the first movie. And in addition to having one of our great voices, Patrick Stewart, narrate the movie’s opening and closing, writer/director/actor Seth MacFarlane adds one of the other great voices of our time, Morgan Freeman, to the cast as a civil rights lawyer.
This story starts out with Ted’s wedding. That’s right — he’s marrying his longtime girlfriend and co-worker, grocery-store check-out girl Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth). The wedding is perfect, complete with Sam J. Jones (1980s Flash Gordon) officiating, beer cans, drugs and a surprisingly endearing Busby Berkeley-esque number featuring a dancing Ted.
Cut to one year later, and Ted and Tami-Lynn are at each other’s throats, with Ted complaining about Tami’s out-of-control spending habits, and Tami insulting Ted’s lack of manhood — or bearhood. They decide the best way to save their marriage is to have a baby.
That’s when Ted turns to his thunder-buddy, John (Mark Wahlberg). Their efforts, including an attempt to steal Tom Brady’s genetic material, lead to several gut-busting visual jokes and double entendres — but that’s not the real issue. When their attempts fail (you’ll have to see the movie to find out why they do), Ted and Tami-Lynn decide to adopt — and that’s when the state of Massachusetts decides Ted isn’t a person, but a piece of property.
Ted now has to go to court to prove he’s a person, which brings us to one of the movie’s biggest strengths: Seyfried, who plays Ted’s young, inexperienced lawyer, Samantha L. Jackson (get it? Sam L. Jackson?). Like Ted and John, she’s also a marijuana enthusiast, although she claims to have a legitimate medical excuse. By the way, there’s one particular scene in which John is ridiculously high, and it’s one of the best acting moments of Wahlberg’s career. Doing comedy has really helped him expand his range and deepen his level of commitment to his characters.
I look forward to the pushback I’m going to get for the following statement: Seth MacFarlane is one of our greatest satirists. Granted, he has a distinct formula which can be easy for other comedians to mock. Also, his attempt at a Western comedy, last year’s A Million Ways to Die in the West, was a disaster. Even so, that doesn’t diminish his flair for making a mockery out of hypocrites and unleashing uncomfortable but hilarious jokes. We’re talking about a guy in his early 40s who can write and participate in a Busby Berkeley dance number, then orchestrate one of the most disgusting yet hilarious sight gags we’ll see at the movies this year.
Thematically, Ted 2 is spot on, even if that wasn’t the intention. It should go without saying, everybody with a heart and soul deserves to be treated equally. Sometimes it takes a cursing, flatulent, pot-smoking, joke-cracking teddy bear to teach us common sense.
Four out of five stars.
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.