'Ted 2': Intermittently Funny Comedy Held Together by Dick Jokes and Semen

By Rebecca Pahle | Film | June 26, 2015 | Comments ()

By Rebecca Pahle | Film | June 26, 2015 |


Confession: When I was assigned the review for Ted 2, I had not seen Ted. I still have not seen Ted. I have no plans at any point in the future to see Ted. My thoughts on Seth MacFarlane’s foul-mouthed talking bear franchise can be summed up by a half-hearted shrug and a “myyyeeehhhhh.” But TK never tackled me and demanded that I give him the review of the sequel to his secret favorite film of all time (Seth MacFarlane shrine. I haven’t seen it, but I’m sure he has one), so I schlepped out to the theatre, vaguely concerned that I wouldn’t be able to wade through the story due to having missed out on what was surely an in-depth, intricately constructed backstory (LOL no).

Shockingly, I was able to pick everything up fairly quickly. Ted (MacFarlane) is a talking teddy bear. John (Mark Wahlberg) is his best friend. They smoke a lot of weed. Ted and his new wife Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) decide they want to have a baby, but adoption proceedings unearth a complication in Ted’s legal status, and long story short (long, long sstory—this movie had three endings and should have lost 20 minutes in editing), Ted ends up having to prove in a court of law that he’s a person instead of property.

The verdict: There are some funny bits in Ted 2. They’re very Seth MacFarlane-y, i.e. the plot grinds to a halt for a minute or so the characters can go off a weird tangent. Some of these are lazy and dumb (like the movie’s preoccupation with “black cocks” and the obsession Giovanni Ribisi’s character has with urinal cakes), but a few are genuinely funny. If the latter category mostly consists of the sort of gags endless drunk college students have already come up with (“Are Trix really just for kids? Braaaaahhh.”), whatever, they still worked. There’s a Contact reference nestled within a Jurassic Park reference. A fight scene that breaks out at (a surprisingly spacious and un-crowded—you can put the “Midtown Comics” sign there, but I will not be fooled.) New York Comic Con made me laugh. A joke involving Patrick Warburton and his boyfriend Michael Dorn (in the movie, not in real life… that I know of) comes close to justifying the entire movie’s existence.

(If you have no plans to see Ted 2 and therefore don’t mind being spoiled: They go to the con dressed as The Tick and Worf.)

Most of the humor is more bro-y in nature: Dicks and pot smoking and bodily excretions and gay panic. Mark Wahlberg is covered head-to-toe in semen at one point. It’s not something I thought I’d ever want to see, and after having seen it… yup, I was right. Not a good mental image.

Wahlberg, at least, is OK when he’s playing an idiot (Boogie Nights, Pain and Gain) as opposed to a literature professor/teacher/inventor. Less lucky is Amanda Seyfried, playing Ted’s lawyer/John’s love interest, Sam. The spirit of Jenny McCarthy is strong in this one: Hot girls are even hotter when they do bro-y things (farting for McCarthy, being a pothead for Sam), and hotter even than that when they’re stupid.

In the case of Ted 2, where the currency is pop culture references, “stupid” means not knowing the Rocky movies or difference between Star Wars and Star Trek. (As one con attendee says to John about Sam: “I’m sorry you have to put up with that.” Women, amirite?) Making Sam the resident cultural dunce, unable to particpate in the boys’ rapid-fire banter, has the effect of making her the straightman who gets to be laughed at, rarely with. I’ve seen Mean Girls. I know Seyfried can be funny. I want Rose Byrne and Kaitlin Olson to swoop down on from the heavens and raze Hollywood with a barrage of righteous vengeance until writers stop it with the “humorless girlfriend” schtick.

(And, again, some of Sam’s pop culture ignorance is just lazy writing. I don’t care if you’re into highbrow media like Shakespeare and F. Scott Fitzgerald, everyone knows who Samuel L. Jackson is.)

Basically, there are some scenes in Ted 2 that you might want to look up on YouTube later, but there’s no reason to subject yourself to the whole thing. The too-long stretches between those future YouTube clips are filled either with dumb shit or—more egregious—-scenes when we’re actually supposed to care about the characters. Speeches about civil rights (where Ted says he’s being oppressed the same way “the fags, I’m sorry, the homos” are), suspense about whether *coughspoilermumble* is going to die, the burgeoning romantic relationship between John and Sam… I don’t give a shit about any of it or any of the characters. At all. It almost made me miss the semen jokes.

Almost.





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