After raking in cash one furry fist over the other, Seth MacFarlane’s pot smoking, foul-mouthed teddy bear returns to the big screen in Ted 2 (catchy title). This time around, Ted must fight for his civil rights to be considered a person and not property. Think To Kill a Mockingbird meets Family Guy. Wait … don’t think that. That’s just weird.
Fans may be wondering why Mila Kunis didn’t return when so many of the original cast did. Some light internet research revealed the standard response to such a questions is because of how the story developed. I have no reason to doubt it, and considering the addition of Amanda Seyfried as the novice attorney who champions Ted’s case with the court, that actually makes sense.
Talking about plot is boring, even more so when it comes to comedies, so I’ll spare you the exposition. Suffice to say there are ups and downs, courtrooms, hijinks, and plenty of cameos. Although Kunis was absent, the Family Guy cast was well represented again of course, with MacFarlane once again voicing Ted, and the Patricks (Warburton and Stewart) reprising their roles from the first film (a narrator is a role technically). Giovanni Ribisi returns with another skeevy plot to earn himself his very own talking teddy bear at the expense of Ted, and Jessica Barth continues to love the cute and cuddly titular character with all of the foul-mouthed language one would expect from a good Boston girl (send all your letters to Shia LaBeouf at crazycakes.com). There are other cameos well worth mentioning (i.e. Sam Jones) but listing names is something you can get by visiting IMDb so we’ll just move on, shall we?
New to the proceedings in supporting roles are Michael Dorn, John Carroll Lynch, and Morgan Freeman. Each bring their own particular skillset to the proceedings but for those out there who know Dorn and Warburton’s previous works, they will find themselves especially pleased by their involvement in scenes set at New York Comic-Con. Seriously, it may be easy pickings but it’s kind of genius.
Kudos also go to Mark Wahlberg and Seyfried. Each allows for a few jokes that are less than flattering and it shows they have the ability to check their egos at the door. While the big Wahlberg gross-out scene is a bit reminiscent of something Jay Chandrasekhar cooked up in The Babymakers, it does make sense to go there considering the situation that was at play. And Seyfried is obviously a beautiful woman, and allowing comparisons to a certain well-known fantasy character to be made showed a good deal of humility.
Anywho, audiences who liked the first installment should find a lot to like here in the sequel. While other sequels (*cough* Jurassic World) may have defecated all over the metaphorical bed, MacFarlane has delivered on the laughs and it’s possible that this is better than the first movie. With comedies it’s so hard to actually determine that on the first go-around, as part of what makes them seem better is that you hadn’t heard the jokes before. Subsequent viewings will need to “bear” out my impulsive assessment (I had to have at least one pun, right?).
Of course, few things are perfect. There certainly are some elements that could have been edited out as the running time of nearly two hours is a bit too long for what this movie offers. First and foremost is the subplot with Giovanni Ribisi. It’s basically the same thing we saw in the initial movie and although the payoff leads to a catalyzing moment, that same moment could have been derived from almost any other situation.
And as someone who’s enjoyed MacFarlane’s work outside of Family Guy, singing old standards and having a bent for big, classic Hollywood musical numbers, I wasn’t surprised to see some of that on display here. However, while there’s some amusing irony in an opening sequence that sort of takes the one from Family Guy and turns into a big, real-life, musical extravaganza, it doesn’t really jibe with everything else.
The same essentially applies to a song MacFarlane wrote for Seyfried to sing which harkens back to those aforementioned old standards. It wasn’t poorly done, and thankfully this is a pre-recorded and produced Seyfried (not that horrific high-pitched warbling from Les Miserables). Still, it just felt like these touches were put in because MacFarlane likes it, without really stopping to consider if it matched up to the rest of the movie.
Still, I found myself laughing constantly throughout the film and will happily be adding this to my home collection down the line. Ted 2 won’t convert anyone who didn’t like the first movie or doesn’t enjoy Family Guy, as the humor is quite similar. But if you’re a fan, getting out to the theaters to check this out is a no-brainer … though if you’re cash-conscious I can totally see waiting for the home market to save a few bucks. And should this make another toy chest full of greenbacks, you can bet a Ted 3 will be on the way as MacFarlane has already stated that possibility is up to audience demand. Your move, World.
MPAA rating: R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use.
Running time 116 minutes
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