‘Ted 2’ Bearly Passable

by Joe Jarosz on June 26, 2015

in Print Reviews,Reviews

[Minor Rock Fist Up]

At a bachelor party I attended recently, me and a few guys started talking about movie sequels. The conversation followed the usual footsteps when discussing sequels; Godfather 2 has better watch-ability than the first and Empire is better than A New Hope. But then, a friend said something I never really considered. He said no comedy sequel has ever been better than what it spawned from.

We were at a lake house, so internet service was spotty. Off the top of my head, I couldn’t think of any movies to disprove his point. I made a note to myself to check for comedy sequels when we got back to civilization and you know what, he was still right. The first time you see a comedy, Anchorman or Dumb and Dumber for example, you may have some expectations, but you’re ultimately surprised when the jokes land. So when there’s a sequel, your expectations are higher and if it doesn’t match the first film, then it failed.

Ted 2 is not the exception to the above rule. It’s a fine comedy, but it doesn’t come close to mirroring the surprises and jokes of the first film. If you’re a fan of Seth MacFarlane and his many projects — Family Guy, American Dad, or last summer’s A Million Ways to Die in the West — then you’ll have no regrets seeing Ted 2. The jokes are hit and miss, but in typical MacFarlane fashion, when they hit, they hit big.

The sequel opens with Ted (voiced by MacFarlane) marrying his girlfriend Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth). After a year of marriage, and much fighting, the two decide to have a baby, which we all know solves any marriage problems. Ted goes to his best friend, the newly single John (Mark Wahlberg) and asks him to be a sperm donor. After some mishaps — some very disgusting mishaps, mind you — at the sperm donor bank, Ted and Tami-Lynn have to resort to adoption. It seems, however, that for all his life, Ted has been living off the grid and their adoption paperwork has set-off some red flags with the government. Now, in order to qualify to be a parent and reclaim his life, he has to prove he’s a person in the court of law.

That’s how John and Ted meet Sam L. Jackson (Amanda Seyfried), the young lawyer who’s going to fight their case for them pro bono against one of the toughest lawyers in Boston, Shep Wild (John Slattery). I’m not sure if Seyfried is an upgrade over Mila Kunis, who had a rapport with MacFarlane due to their many years of working together on Family Guy.

In a side plot, Donnie (the disturbingly, sexual dancer that is Giovanni Ribisi) is doing everything he can to make sure Ted loses his case. Because if he loses, then Ted is considered property, something that’s a lot easier to steal than a person.

When he wants to, MacFarlane, who also wrote and directed, can make you think about issues facing society while also injecting humor that doesn’t cloud the main focus. Ted fighting for his civil rights mirrors the problems of many today, who are fighting for LGBT, women’s and racial equality. He has a soul, he’s made a contribution to society, so why is his life considered less than someone else’s?

If nothing else, I’d recommend the movie for its many cameos. My theory is MacFarlane saw an early cut of the Entourage movie and said to himself, “hey, I bet I can get more cameos in my movie.” Because of Ted 2, Jay Leno made me laugh at something he said and did for the first time in years. I’ll just leave it at that.

I’ve seen worse comedies this year and I’ve seen better. I laughed out loud at times and I cringed at other times. Yes, there’s a lot of sophomoric humor, but there’s also a touch of heart.

Joe Jarosz is a Midwest boy now living in California.

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