Review: Ted 2
PLOT: Now that he's married, Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) wants to adopt a child. Easier said than done when you're a talking teddy bear. Now, not only does Ted have to fight for the right to adopt but with the help of his best thunder buddy John (Mark Wahlberg) and a young lawyer (Amanda Seyfried) must also prove that he's legally a human as the state recognizes him as property.
REVIEW: I'll admit I was skeptical about a TED 2, especially after the dismal A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST. While the first movie was often very funny, it was also more than a little clumsy with a weak second half not the most promising set-up for a sequel. Happily, Seth MacFarlane has grown a lot as a director, even just since last summer, with TED 2 being a tighter, faster film than the first and often hilarious if never quite an A-level laugh riot.
While the last one focused a lot on Mark Wahlberg's character and his romance with Mila Kunis (who's written out of the sequel) this time it's all about the bear. While Wahlberg's certainly a major presence, he's never on-screen without Ted, while the later gets some downtime with his new spouse Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) and one of the funniest bits in the movie when he encounters a certain big-name tough guy who's identity I won't spoil here.
If you've seen the first movie, you'll know that less romance for Wahlberg isn't necessarily a bad thing. While Wahlberg is game as hell and even funnier than the bear when he's on-point, the romantic subplot in the first was way too corny and often killed the movie's momentum. Here, his relationship with Amanda Seyfried's stoner (natch) lawyer is more subtle and organic to the plot. While his romantic leading man chops don't get much of a workout here, Wahlberg still has tons of great lines and even winds up covered head-to-toe in semen at one point (a good slapstick moment which this has a few of).
Just like on Family Guy and in the last film, MacFarlane flies his geek flag high, with tons of Star Trek cameos from the likes of Nana Visitor and a scene-stealing Michael Dorn, as well as a big concluding set piece set at NY Comic Con. If you're wondering how much they paid to be in this, it's nothing compared to what Hasbro must have paid, with them figuring into the plot in a huge way. Product placement for Optimus Prime and the TRANSFORMERS is so prominent that I'm almost surprised the toy company is not on-board as co-financiers.
The Hasbro bit works its way into the clumsiest part of the movie, where Giovanni Ribisi's Donny returns with another plot to nab Ted. This was the weakest part of the first film, and it has a similar effect on the sequel, dominating the more uneven second half. Luckily, the editing is much smoother and more of the schmaltzier bits wind up have really good comic payoffs, making them a lot easier to take than they were last time.
Overall, TED 2 is about on-par with the first. While it's far better on a purely cinematic level in that the editing and the pacing makes this feel less like a long episode of Family Guy, the trade-off is that there's never a huge laugh, such as in the FLASH GORDON party scene in the first (although Sam J. Jones is back). Still, there are lots of really funny jokes with brilliant deadpan delivery by Wahlberg, and a surprising mastery of stoner humor shown by Seyfried - who's funnier than you'd think. If you liked the first one, this is an easy recommendation and I wouldn't be surprised if this gives Universal their fourth big hit of the year.
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