A Ted Too Far
In Ted 2 we rejoin John (Mark Wahlburg) and his foul mouth, pot smoking, fast talking lovable teddy bear Ted, voiced by Seth Mcfarland. In this misadventure, Ted has recently married girlfriend Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) and quickly they realize that their relationship is not exactly better for it. In an attempt to rekindle the flame, they try unsuccessfully to have a child. When that doesn’t work, a trip to the adoption agency raises a red flag with the government. Ted is not considered human, but in fact property and thereby unable to be officially wed or hold down employment. Ted and John then meet Samantha (Amanda Syfried) a fledgling attorney who tries to help them argue in court Ted’s rights as a human being in the eyes of the law.
I have been a long-time fan of Seth Mcfarland. The looks, the voice, the comedy, the acting; is there anything that guy can’t do? Although in recent years I have found myself avoiding Family Guy, never could get into American Dad or the Cleveland show. Something about the format has become a little stale. I enjoyed A Million Ways to Die in The West (2013) a great deal and was disappointed to see it was not very well received by critics and audiences alike. The original Ted I thought was hilarious. It was exactly what I expected. Random comedy bits, in the loosely held confines of a plot. Much like you get with any family guy episode. So when Ted 2 was announced, I expected much of the same. Only from the very first few minutes of this movie I felt something had changed. Much in the way new episodes of Family Guy feel. The routine has grown slightly stale. In the opening wedding scene, Patrick Warburton reprises his role as Guy; an almost self-loathing macho homosexual used as a platform for some very weak, offensive for the sake of being funny gay jokes. Then there is a very elaborate Busby Berkley style dance number for the opening credits. What?! Is that an attempt to gloss over the offense taken with a musical number? In the wake of the recent Supreme Court Decision it seems very ill timed. For that matter the rest of the storyline of Ted fighting for his right to legally be considered human and thereby marry his girlfriend seems almost a too close for comfort play on recent news. I think since the plot is a distant second to the gags in this series, another plot might have been more effective.
With all that being said, Ted 2 is not without its hilarious low brow comedy bits. This movie nails several great ones for its target audience. There are pop culture movie references to tickle any level of fan boy or girls fancy. There is a Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987) bit that had me rolling out of my seat. At one point in the movie the action brings our protagonists to a Comic-Con in New York. A Seth Mcfarland narrative at a Comic-Con is like Jerry Seinfeld doing a movie in an airport or Jim Gaffigan at a grocery store. It’s all too easy for him to create jokes that pander to the nostalgia of his target audience.
The movie itself is worth a watch for the few good laughs it creates. I hardly recommend spending theater money to see it. Set a look out for this On Demand or on Netflix. Unless you’re the kind of person who is still watching family guy re-runs. If that’s the case I suggest you put in your retainer, pause the World of Warcraft and ask your mom to drive you to the nearest Cineplex before it’s gone.
Bummer Ted, this just didn’t do it for me.
I was so excited to see Ted 2, not to be needy. I wasn’t necessarily looking for something better than the original Ted … I was just looking for some good laughs and some entertaining dialogue. But man did this fall flat too many times.
There were some gems in Ted 2, don’t get me wrong. Clearly Seth McFarland likes the same movies we do and there were quite a few homages to classic scenes. Hilarious. But I think Ted and John (Mark Wahlberg) took on too big of an issue for a movie full of jack-off and bong jokes. Civil rights is a big issue to tackle and maybe the idea of giving a teddy bear “human rights” sounded good on paper but boy… did it not translate to the big screen. How do you go from “be on the right side of civil rights” to trying to pick what bong to smoke out of. It was just … strange. I wish they just let it be another round of the original Ted. Throw in a cheesy love story to your boyhood jokes and let ‘er rip. I’d be in.
If you really want to go to the movies and you really don’t have any other options, sure, see Ted 2. You’ll laugh now and then. Otherwise wait for a rainy night at home and check it out when it’s on the premium channels or Netflix… you’re not missing out.
Sorry Ted. Better luck next time?