– Summary –
Director : Seth MacFarlane
Year Of Release : 2015
Principal Cast : Seth MacFarlane, Mark Wahlberg, Amanda Seyfried, Jessica Barth, Giovanni Ribisi, Morgan Freeman, John Slattery, Patrick Warburton, Michael Dorn, Bill Smitrivich, Cocoa Brown, John Carroll Lynch, Ron Canada, Jessica Szohr, Nana Visitor.
Approx Running Time : 114 Minutes
Synopsis: Newlywed couple Ted and Tami-Lynn want to have a baby, but in order to qualify to be a parent, Ted will have to prove he’s a person in a court of law.
Welcome… to Jurassic Park.
Crass, juvenile, ribald, offensive: Ted 2 runs the flag up the pole and proudly salutes everything which made the original film as hilarious as it was. Frankly, some people find Seth MacFarlane’s brand of humour a low-point in Hollywood comedy, and truth be told I’m a little hit-and-miss on him myself, but gut-busting Ted 2 skirts the line between subtle socio-political commentary and bodily fluid jokes. Between all the drawling Boston accents and politically incorrect references to pop-culture touchstones, Ted 2’s off-the-cuff riff on sci-fi’s “what is life” narratives actually strikes me as an interesting idea for a living teddy bear to encounter, although the frat-house jokes and self-referential silliness does tend to override what MacFarlane is trying to accomplish.
Sentient teddy bear, Ted (voice of Seth MacFarlane) marries his girlfriend Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth), but when their marriage hits the rocks, they decide to have a baby in order to salvage their union. Unfortunately, in the process of trying to conceive (or, not, given Ted has no genitals) it soon becomes apparent that Ted has ruffled the featehrs of beuracracy. The state of Massachusetts no longer recognises Ted as a person – it annuls his marriage, and Ted must take his case to the courts to prove his “personhood”. Accompanying him in his civil rights case are best friend John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg), and freshman lawyer Samantha Jackson (Amanda Seyfried), while former nemesis Donny (Giovanni Ribisi) goes after Ted to make billions for evil Hasbro executive Tom Jessup (John Carroll Lynch).
Okay, so the idea of seeing Mark Wahlberg on the floor of an artificial insemination clinic covered in semen isn’t high class comedy, but man if I didn’t weep laughing. Ted 2 is utter lowbrow comedic schlock, the kind of icky, wash-yerself-clean-afterwards monstrous entity you know should be abhorrent, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t laugh my ass off almost all the way through it. Perhaps that says more about me than it does the film; jokes about semen, incest, and making fun of human tragedy (a scene in a comedy club rips the scab off and lets it bleed) as well as references to popular cinema abound as MacFarlane skirts pointed material in favour of hanging baubles of disgusting from the adolescent tree he’s grown. The film kinda stumbles into its conclusion, and misses the target at the denouement, but Ted 2 is about the journey rather than the destination.
Ted 2 brazenly strides into geek territory more often than I think MacFarlane is comfortable with – it features one of the best Comic Con brawls ever committed to celluloid – and MacFarlane scores more hits than misses as he throws just about everything at the screen, but Ted 2’s legitimate raison d’etre struggles to rise above. Guys watching this for the drugs and sex references will probably just want to skip the “civil rights” stuff because it becomes almost too serious for its own good. This imbalance seriously undermines what MacFarlane is trying to say about “life”. The subplot involving Giovanni Ribisi’s insane Donny, who’s still chasing Ted to satisfy his own warped fantasy, should have been jettisoned entirely, as it draws focus away from the central premise of the film – knowingly trying to make a Seth MacFarlane film better is like trying to put a strippers lingerie back on, I know, but Ribisi’s role never warranted a return appearance.
It’s testament to MacFarlane’s comedic abilities that he makes the film work as well as it does. Ostensibly unsatisfying as a dramatic work, and with comedy wrung from every un-PC moment it can achieve, Ted 2 relies heavily on the dynamic between Wahlberg, Seyfried and MacFarlane’s vocal work as Ted to satisfy audience demands. High on my list of things Ted 2 does right is Seyfried, who lampoons herself uproariously and elevates her comedic chops substantially by delivering some wicked non-sequitors and out-of-character performances as the pot-smoking lawyer with a bong shaped like a giant cock. Throw in a taciturn cameo by Morgan Freeman, a redneck vamp turn by Jessica Barth (as Ted’s surprisingly not-in-the-film-much wife/girlfriend), and genuinely hilarious bit-parts to Patrick Warburton and Star Trek alum Michael Dorn (both reprise their respective cult favourite fantasy figures during the Comic Con sequence with riotous results) and Ted 2’s slapstick tone smacks plenty of home runs.
Ted 2 is unabashedly asinine; part of the charm of a sentient teddy bear who smokes, dallies with hookers and converses with curse-words like a sailor on acid, is that he has no filter – Ted says what he thinks, damn the consequences – and that’s somewhat of a parallel to MacFarlane’s methodology as a comedian. As a cohesive whole, Ted 2 is scaffolding bucking under its own weight, but chug down a few beers with the lads and the film takes on a guffaw-pleasing night of sass and insults. Sometimes, all anyone wants is a good belly laugh at someone else’s expense. Ted 2 aims right in that direction.
© 2016 – 2015, Rodney Twelftree. All rights reserved.