‘Ted 2’ is funny, but not as funny as the original

Jessica Barth and Ted in 'Ted 2'
Jessica Barth and Ted in ‘Ted 2’

If you’re planning to see Ted 2 and you didn’t see the original, don’t worry.  It’s self-contained.  The original was not a great film, but was hysterically funny.  This is also not a great film and while it is funny, it’s not as funny as the original.

The titular teddy bear (voiced by MacFarlane) is getting married to his sweetheart and co-worker “Tami-Lynn” (Barth) and his “thunder buddy for life” “John” (Wahlberg) is there as the best man.  But he isn’t happy.  His marriage to “Lori” in the first film ended in a divorce that was final some six months ago.  He’s been unable to get back on the horse and start dating.

The marriage of Ted and Tami-Lynn gets stale and they begin fighting.  Ted decides that the way to save the marriage is to have a kid, which Tami-Lynn thinks is a fantastic idea.  However since Ted isn’t properly equipped to father a child, they need an alternative solution.  After a few attempts at finding a way to artificially inseminate Tami-Lynn fail, the couple decides to adopt.  That becomes the real problem as Ted isn’t a legal person.  The State of Massachusetts won’t allow him to adopt and things get worse.  Since he can’t be recognized as a legal person, he loses his job, his credit cards and more.

Amanda Seyfried, Ron Canada and Ted in ‘Ted 2’

John and Ted decide they need a lawyer and they wind up in the office of “Samantha Leslie Jackson” (Seyfried).  She’s just passed the bar and is working at a relative’s law firm.  She files suit to have Ted declared a person based on the fact he is sentient.  Meanwhile “Donny” (Ribisi), who stole and attempted to kill Ted in the original film, goes to the president of the toy company he works for with an idea to take possession of Ted after John and Ted lose their lawsuit, dissect him and use what they learn to make a Ted for every child.

There isn’t a lot to differentiate the original film from this sequel except for the fact that this time around the jokes are a bit old and a bit stale.  Lots of marijuana, alcohol and sex humor, with a level of raunchiness that nears capacity for an R rating.  Buried deep beneath the jokes is a message of equality for all, but it’s hard to find when you’re reacting to something that was designed to make you laugh out loud and the best you can manage is a courtesy laugh.

Amanda Seyfried manages to transcend the less than stellar portions of the film’s humor and makes the most of every moment she’s in the movie.  Mark Wahlberg’s comedy timing is much better than one would expect of someone who is known primarily as an action/adventure actor.  The CGI that creates and allows Ted to interact with the actors is just fine.  Comedies work best when they make you laugh uncontrollably.  There are some of those moments here (there’s a shot with a phallic-shaped bong that’s hysterical) but not enough of them to put this on a par with the original Ted.

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