by George Wolf
We pretty much know what to expect from Seth MacFarlane by now, don’t we? Crude, often sophomoric gags heavy on pop culture references, celebrity cameos and non sequiturs, with some musical numbers worked in to boot.
By that scorecard, Ted 2 is definitely a Seth MacFarlane movie and, like most of his work, sometimes it’s really, really funny.
We catch up with the “thunder buddies” to find John (Mark Wahlberg) has gotten divorced and Ted (voiced by MacFarlane) is getting married. But after only one year of marriage, Ted and Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) are not happy. They make the hasty decision that a child is the answer, but find some roadblocks to parenthood, both anatomical and otherwise.
Ted’s frequent buzz is killed when he learns that, in the eyes of the state, a teddy bear come to life is not really a person, and he’ll have to fight for his civil rights. That news spurs a team-up with a rookie lawyer (Amanda Seyfried) and a quest to prove that Ted has the right to take the inspired last name of “Clubberlang” and become a legally recognized husband and father.
The obvious parallels with current equality issues are commendable, but MacFarlane has no intention of going soft. Jokes about race and sexual orientation are plentiful, making sure we know everyone is fair game, including Seyfried, the good sport target of several “big eyed” barbs.
There are some downright hilarious moments (especially John on bad weed and the gang’s trip to Comic Con) but Ted 2 still feels about fifteen minutes too long. When you talk with friends after the film, you’ll probably quote enough scenes to make the entire thing seem like a non-stop gut buster, but it isn’t.
There are several stretches where the laughs are light, plus one very promising parody of Planes, Trains and Automobiles that sadly goes nowhere. And, it should go without saying that if you’re easily offended, Ted 2 will easily offend you.
Even more than the first go round, John and Ted’s new adventure wants to be a foul-mouthed Big. It doesn’t always work, but if you don’t mind a bit rougher recess, play on.