film reel image

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Ted 2 2015 * * Stars

Ted 2Director: Seth Macfarlane
Year: 2015
Rated R
Rating: * * Stars
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Amanda Seyfried, Seth Macfarlane

A plethora of unwanted sperm donations falling on the head of star Mark Wahlberg, a x-ray showing a woman's uterus polluted by hundreds of marijuana particles, and a bong constructed into something follicle. Yeah that's the Seth Macfarlane way and this is just a taste of his sloppy seconds to 2012's mega-hit, Ted.

Anyway, you know that 2 Live Crew album, As Nasty As They Wanna Be. Well Ted 2 (the film I'm writing about) isn't as nasty as I thought it would be nor is it as focused as it should be. This is a sequel and come on, you knew it wasn't gonna be as good as the original (I'm not lying when I say that almost every funny line or gag featured, is only in the trailer). "2" is pasted together, it's lax, it tries hard for guffaws (where as the first one didn't really need to try), and even though it expands on the hook and story arc of its predecessor (which has a premise hinged on an asinine, foul-mouthed, pot-smoking teddy bear coming to life because of a young boy's childhood wish), the novelty has now worn off faster than a rusty nail in a vat of Coca-Cola. The thunder buddies may be back but their thunder has sort of been stolen.

With pop culture references ranging from Planes, Trains, & Automobiles (Ted drives a car while chain smoking and doing the "Mess Around") to The Breakfast Club (dancing in the library) to Flash Gordon (Sam Jones still can't stop doing blow), Ted 2 will make you chuckle in spurts only to serve as a reminder of why everything was fresher the first time around. Director Seth Macfarlane is like comedy's version of a food stylist. This time, he throws everything into his vile, crude potluck and the ingredients don't mesh as well. But hey, at least what's on screen is better than his earlier dud, A Million Way to Die in the West (uh, that's not a compliment).

Containing a Mark Wahlberg performance that seems to have been phoned in this time around, featuring a dance sequence (during the opening credits) where Ted's Fuzzy Wuzzy gets his groove on (just think Kate Capshaw in Temple of Doom), and showing both of these main characters getting high to the TV miniseries, Roots (wow that's original), Ted 2's story begins about three years from when the first installment left off. As percolated previously, Ted (brought to the screen by the voice stylings of Macfarlane) survived dying at Fenway Park and now he's about to get married to his potty-mouthed sweetheart, Tami Lynn McCafferty (played by Jessica Barth). Meanwhile, his bromantic partner in crime being John Bennett (Wahlberg), has just gotten a divorce from Lori Collins (played by Mila Kunis from the first Ted). As the proceedings carry along, Ted wants to have a kid with Tami Lynn to strengthen their union. The only snafu is he can't give her one. The solution: Adopt or have the little tyke through artificial insemination. The problem: This all culminates in the Government finding out and determining that Ted is not a really person but just a piece of property. He loses his job at the supermarket, his credit goes down the drain, and his marriage becomes annulled (bummer). The new solution: Ted and Johnny decide to take this catastrophe to trial and hire a lawyer/obligatory love interest in Samantha Leslie Jackson (as in Sam L. Jackson, get it).

Tidbits to look out for in "2": Morgan Freeman (in a brief role as a civil rights attorney) actually says, "I'll go f**k myself", Samantha (played by Amanda Seyfried) jokingly throws a piece of cereal in a blind guy's butt crack (only in America), and Giovanni Ribisi (as creepy Donny from the first Ted) once again does his signature dance from Tiffany's "I Think We're Alone Now". Every time I hear that song I think I might have to turn it off. It's sadly on par with Goodbye Horses from The Silence of the Lambs.

When it's all said and done, the producers of Ted were ingenious three years ago. They came up with the idea of a cuddly, teddy bear movie and completely turned it on its head. You have this furry toy talking like a Bostonian, making a life with his best bud (Bennett), and eventually transforming into something that's almost criminal in nature. I realized that if this thing became a family film instead, I'm not sure anyone would have bothered to buy a ticket. Frat boy humor in the end, is what we want (I know I'm a fan of it). But here's the thing: Ted 2 gets more trivial as it goes along. Within the final half hour, its hook (as mentioned earlier) doesn't relegate to a movie. Instead, every spoken word of dialogue becomes offensive for the sake of being offensive, odious for the sake of being odious, and foul for the sake of being foul. Constant f-bombs and slapstick pummeling a movie don't make. Oh and did I mention that "2" actually holds back a bit as well. I guess cinematic follow-ups don't always mean bigger and better.

To sum up my review, I'll say this: Last month, I saw 2015's Entourage and in it Mark Wahlberg was asked about how many Ted sequels he was going to do. His response was, "I'll do twenty if I can". Hey Mark, please don't. One is enough.

Of note: (Spoiler alert) if you've seen the ending of the first Ted, the one in "2" is role reversed yet almost identical. You'll spot the outcome from a mile away. Also, there are three noticeable cameos I haven't spoken of yet. One of them is amusing. It involves Jay Leno (playing himself) looking for sex in a men's bar bathroom. Another cameo involves Tom Brady (I'm not even gonna go there). Finally, we have a guest appearance via my hero, Liam Neeson. It's bad and it will have you scratching your head while shaking it at the same time. Everybody's favorite badass buys breakfast cereal at the supermarket where Ted works at. "Are Trix for kids?" Honestly Liam, who gives a crap.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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