**** 1/2 out of 5
Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use
Article first published at The Reel Place.
I wish I could say it feels like it was yesterday that Seth MacFarlane unleashed Ted upon us. One of the funniest movies of 2012 — only rivaled by 21 Jump Street and The Cabin In the Woods — MacFarlane’s brand of scatological heartfelt raunch proved that he was far more than just the creator of Family Guy. Unfortunately, MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West didn’t quite fit audience’s expectations. More full-blown western than comedy, it failed both critically and financially. Now, MacFarlane is back at what he does best with Ted 2, a film so funny you’ll wind up crying from laughing too hard.
We catch up with Ted (voiced by MacFarlane), the world’s most lovable foul-mouthed teddy bear come to life, as he marries Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth). At the reception, we find out that best man/thunder buddy for life John (Mark Wahlberg), is six months divorced. (Turns out, that after spending a whole movie proving John and Lori were made for each other, they weren’t.) Ted wants John to get over her and back in the dating pool, but John isn’t quite ready to kick his porn habit.
With Ted’s own marriage on the rocks after just a year, John suggests that maybe the two should have a baby. Problem is, Ted doesn’t have the required appendage for procreation, and to make matters worse, Tami-Lynn has ruined her uterus with excessive alcohol and drug use. Now, the two want to adopt a little bundle of joy, but the state declares Ted a piece of property and not human. Thus begins Ted’s hilarious journey, with John by his side and 26-year-old pothead and lawyer-in-training Samantha, to prove he has a soul. Meanwhile, the nefarious Donny (Giovanni Ribisi) is hatching a plan at Hasbro headquarters to finally make Ted his own.
I have to admit, I had complete faith in MacFarlane for Ted 2. Even West had some brazenly inspired moments of absurdity to keep it chugging along — it also helps that I actually love a good western. I am a little cautious in declaring 2 funnier than the original, I can’t help but wonder if it seems that way because the jokes are fresher with this being the newest installment. But it is safe to say that MacFarlane (along with co-writers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild, who also co-wrote the original) has crafted an even bigger, sillier, raunchier, sequel than you could imagine.
But don’t let the lowbrow fool you, MacFarlane somehow has also managed to make the most pro-gay rights film at the same time. Lots of points are made about Ted not deserving rights because he’s different, don’t tell me they’re not drawing parallels, and more power to MacFarlane! Samantha’s opening remarks in court are both poignant and timely. But have no fear, of course this is no serious affair. There’s potty humor aplenty, but also plenty of heart.
I know, we came for the laughs. And on that note, MacFarlane and company score big time. Full of the prerequisite movie/pop culture references, dick and fart jokes, and non-stop lunacy we’ve come to expect from MacFarlane. I was left gasping after one joke careened into another, and I would never spoil them here! It helps that the cast is up to the challenge to deliver whatever antic MacFarlane throws at them. Without a doubt, Ted 2 is one of the funniest films of the year (only rivaled by Spy so far) and anyone worried it’s just more of the same, well, it is. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.