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MacFarlane’s ‘Ted 2’ stuffed with sparingly funny moments

By Chang Zuo / For The Pitt News

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“Ted 2”

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried

Directed by: Seth MacFarlane

Grade: B-

 

“Ted 2” forgets what makes a teddy bear come to life.

The first movie of the franchise, “Ted,” came out in 2012 and introduced audiences to a lovable teddy bear who magically comes to life after his best friend John makes a wish. The fluffy, huggable friend turns out to be a drug-abusing party animal who swears constantly with a Boston accent, making for an ironic yet endearing character.

The film’s director, Seth MacFarlane, is known for his comedic adult TV animation series including “Family Guy” and “American Dad.” His signature sense of humor marks a hint of influence from Woody Allen and Jackie Gleason — and while MacFarlane is fairly new to filmmaking, he proved that he can take on the challenge when he made “Ted,” his directorial debut.

Unlike the first movie, “Ted 2” hones in on the fight for Ted’s civil rights as a teddy bear. Ted and his girlfriend, Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth), get married and decide to adopt a baby. But their chance at having a normal life is denied when the government refuses to recognize Ted as a real person. Because he’s supposed to be inanimate property, the toy company that made Ted threatens to repossess him. Ted, John and their attorney, Sam (Amanda Seyfried), fight for Ted’s personhood, but they quickly learn that the situation is too complex to handle. Meanwhile, the film’s villain, Donny (Giovanni Ribisi), who kidnapped and ripped Ted apart in the first movie, returns with a new plan which puts Ted and John in life-threatening danger.

Although the film is a comedy, “Ted 2” attempts to take on a political issue that’s too heavy for the lighthearted genre. Granted, MacFarlane’s other works, such as “Family Guy,” also deal with more serious political and social issues. But when comparing an episodic series that allows more room to explore multiple topics with a longer film which needs time to develop its characters, “Ted 2” can’t find the balance between its heavy and lighthearted topics. In one scene, Morgan Freeman, who plays a famous lawyer named Patrick Meighan, gives a lecture on civil rights, a speech which is neither anticipated nor welcomed by the audience. Patrick’s speech and the tear-jerking moments when Ted’s personhood is stripped away in court lead the movie astray from what made the original so comical.

With that said, “Ted 2” is still a funny movie. The constant f-bombs and ridiculous jokes about Sam looking like Gollum from “Lord of the Rings” redeem the comedy. There’s also a number of quality cameos in “Ted 2,” like Tom Brady and Jay Leno, which add to the movie’s hilarity.

“Ted 2” also has an impressive cast, with supporting actors like Freeman and Liam Neeson, who plays a store customer who is overly serious about his selection of breakfast cereals. Neeson manages to keep a straight face while purchasing a box of Trix cereal in a ridiculous and hilarious scene.

Wahlberg’s John is also a highlight of the movie. Unlike the actor’s usual macho appearances in other movies such as “Pain and Gain” and “2 Guns,”Wahlberg shows more subtleties in “Ted 2.” He is tender and vulnerable as he tries to help his best friend and as he falls in love with Sam. Ted, created with CGI, captures the audience’s’ hearts with his realistic movements and facial expressions, not to mention his lively personality as a sarcastic goof-ball.

 

Compared to the rest of the cast, Sam is a less intriguing character. Seyfried’s blank stares and flat-toned delivery make her lack of comedic skills obvious.

Even with “Ted 2”’s political undertones, MacFarlane is still a seasoned writer. “Ted 2” is a comedy and it’s supposed to make you laugh — if you disregard its attempts at depth, the movie will do just that.

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MacFarlane’s ‘Ted 2’ stuffed with sparingly funny moments