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TED 2 Thunder, Thunder, Thunder Buddies!

In this image released by Universal Pictures, the character Ted, voiced by Seth MacFarlane, left, and Mark Wahlberg appear in a scene from "Ted 2." (Universal Pictures via AP)
In this image released by Universal Pictures, the character Ted, voiced by Seth MacFarlane, left, and Mark Wahlberg appear in a scene from “Ted 2.” (Universal Pictures via AP)

Directed by Seth MacFarlane

Starring Seth MacFarlane, Mark Wahlberg, Amanda Seyfried

After the surprise commercial success of Ted and the shocking critical failure of A Million Ways To Die In The West, we once again see Seth MacFarlane return to the obscene teddy bear come to life.

Ted (Seth MacFarlane) and Tami-Lynn are having issues with married life. While trying to adopt a child to reaffirm their relationship, it is revealed that Ted’s legal status is actually that of property. Ted and John (Mark Wahlberg) embark on a campaign to win Ted’s civil rights, with the help of an inexperienced lawyer, Samantha Jackson (Amanda Seyfried).

There might be a rule of diminishing returns here, but Ted 2 once again manages to pack the magic of a pot smoking, foul-mouthed teddy bear come to life into a film. It lacks the freshness of the original this time around, but maintains the relentless pop references and edgy comedy that MacFarlane has become known for. Good taste is a line he often takes glee in sailing right over, but it is hard to be genuinely offended by it, as the jokes more often than not point out the hypocrisy of the larger society rather than aimed at belittling a minority. Still it is worth a word of warning that Ted 2 plays this to the hilt, and there are moments that can seem excruciating. It is generally on solid ground when it is riffing on pop culture, with some amazingly amusing references to ‘80s and ‘90s film and TV that are actually smarter and more subtle than the rest of the humour.

It is in terms of the general plot that the films quality starts to dip. Ted 2 spends a lot of its time spinning its wheels dramatically. For all the drama of Ted’s quest for civil rights and the heavy handed links to similar struggles from minorities both past and present, it never really feels like it has importance or consequences. Instead it is just an excuse to string along a set of drug jokes, pop-culture, and gross out humour that creates the franchise. At the same time this film does have a sense of genuine heart. The relationships it creates between Ted and John, and Ted and Tami-Lynn, feel strangely genuine in their exploration of friendship and love. It just seems that Ted 2 is generally incapable of carrying over this sense of warmth to the plot at large, rendering many of the key moments dramatically inert.

The combination of MacFarlane’s voice work and the special effects once again leave you in no doubt of the existence of Ted. Throughout the film he is a thoroughly believable and real character. Wahlberg is given less to do here, taking more of a background role, but he manages to carry around a sense of sadness and desperation caused by his newly single status.

Although MacFarlane is a comedian that can polarise viewers, you at least know what you are getting when you walk into one of his films, and Ted 2 delivers exactly what you think it would in terms of laughs.


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