The simplest way to describe ‘Ted 2’ is something along the lines of, “It is what it is.” If you liked the first ‘Ted‘ (or any of Seth MacFarlane’s crude comedy output), you’ll probably like this one. It’s pretty much just more of the same, which is really all it needs to be.
So many jokes are flung against the wall during the two-hour race to the credits that at least a few can’t help but land. There’s no real point to the flick beyond giggling at inappropriateness. As long as you aren’t expecting anything else, that’ll do.
Things kick off with MacFarlane’s CGI teddy marrying his beloved check-out girl Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth). No one seems to think that’s strange and it all works out until a few months later when they’re both screaming at each other like any discontented couple. To save the marriage, they decide to have a kid (always the healthiest starting point for parenthood). The only trouble is that he’s a stuffed bear lacking anything resembling genitalia, so it’s tricky.
Ted and his now-single buddy John (Mark Wahlberg) attempt to steal the semen of a sports star, which results in an unfortunate gooey trip to the sperm bank. After those suckers don’t work out, Ted and his beloved decide to adopt, which leads to the state declaring that Ted is property and not a person. So John and Ted team up with an attractive young stoner lawyer (Amanda Seyfried) to plead Ted’s case in court and have him declared a person.
That leads to a road trip, an adventure at Comic-Con, a gratuitous Morgan Freeman cameo, and way too many sincere speeches about the nature of what it means to be human. Thankfully, there are also a variety of f-bombs, weed jokes, ironic celebrity cameos and pop culture references along the way. Those things are really the only purpose of this movie or any Seth MacFarlane production for that matter.
If you dared to take this sequel about a foul-mouthed stoner teddy bear even remotely seriously, it would be pretty easy to dismiss it outright as useless trash. That’s pointless, though. MacFarlane and his writing team create joke factories. Sure, their movies and cartoons have plots and characters and arcs and morals, but only because those conventions are required to release a TV series or movie commercially. Really, the plots are just an excuse for MacFarlane and his various writers’ rooms to get together and spitball as many jokes as they can cram into the project. Usually, they rely on either pop culture references, something offensive, a swear word or a celebrity. You either find that stuff funny or you don’t. Some call it lowest common denominator comedy, and those snobs might have a point. But if seeing Liam Neeson debate the ramifications of buying Trix, a flood of bodily fluids being splattered on Mark Wahlberg, or a well-timed f-bomb make you giggle, then buckle up because there’s some fun in store.
Pretty much all the big jokes from the original ‘Ted’ get callbacks, and the hit-to-miss ratio of the gags is about as high as the last one. The plot probably wanders down a few more dead ends this time, but at least the entire third act isn’t a total write-off, so that’s a mild improvement. The movie doesn’t really have anything to relate to, no grand statement that MacFarlane is hoping to make, or any character who feels remotely like an actual human being. But there’s a great joke about Steven Tyler looking like a cross between a soccer mom and a ‘Goonies’ monster, as well as the sight of Patrick Warburton and Michael Dorn dressed as The Tick and Worf beating up nerds and Comic-Con. If that stuff makes you laugh, you’ll find plenty to tickle your fancy.
Call ‘Ted 2’ a guilty pleasure if you wish, but it definitely crams in the most jokes of any movie released this summer. If those jokes line up with your sense of humor, it’ll also qualify as the funniest movie of the summer thus far. At this point, you know if ‘Ted 2’ or Seth MacFarlane are for you before even buying a ticket. There will be no one swayed. Either show up and giggle at the stupid bear or stay home. You already know what you’re in for and there’s something to be said for giving pop culture-obsessed potheads what they want – or at least there’s a substantial amount of money to be made from doing that.