Ted 2 (***1/2) shines for a while…

ted_two_poster-2

Ted 2 – 2015

Director Seth MacFarlane
Starring  Seth MacFarlane, Mark Wahlberg, Amanda Seyfried, Morgan Freeman, Jessica Barth, Giovanni Ribisi,
John Slattery, Patrick Warburton, Michael Dorn, John Carroll Lynch
Screenplay MacFarlane, Wellesley Wild and Alec Sulkin

Wherever there are 2 guys who decide to spend a day off together, there is Ted. Where ever there is the friend that will tell you truths no one else will, Ted is there too. When ever there is a friend that will risk jail time with you because it makes the event  funnier, and hence more memorable, that’s Ted, as well. The uncomfortable truth that most reviewers of the phenomenon that is this series is that everything about these films rings true to anyone who has ever had that buddy. Well, everything except for the stupid Ribisi subplots.

Starting out with an improbable but workable premise that Ted gets married to Tami-Lynn, while Wahlberg gets divorced from Kunis’ character, Lori. It works in a few ways. First, it gives Wahlberg’s character something to do in the movie. 2nd, it gives rise to a host of potential plots and scenes, the first being a recreation of a fight scene between DeNiro’s Jake LaMotta and Catherine Moriarity’s Vicki from Scorsese’s Raging Bull. So, yeah, he’s still doing the Family Guy routine of referential humor.

But it works, remarkably. As Mr. and Mrs.’ domestic bliss starts to wane and the bad advice comes in. They decide that having a baby will save the marriage. This turns into a well-orchestrated set of ordeals that lead the state into declaring a) Ted is not a citizen, he is property and b) the marriage is void. This leads to John and Ted hiring Seyfried’s “Sam L. Jackson” as their attorney pro-bono.

The film starts to slow around this time, almost grinding to a halt as Ribisi’s Donny shows up again, this time as a Janitor at Hasbro. In a plotline that is too stupid to repeat, he works with the guy in charge (Lynch, whose talent is completely wasted) there on a plan to…kidnap Ted. After all the stuff that was going right, they have to go back there.

They could have done a road trip movie and come up with more original stuff.

They do hit the road, for a short trip down to New York to meet up with a better lawyer than Jackson, played by Freeman with a voice that is so wonderful, Ted wants to sleep on it. It makes more sense when you watch it.

Ted 2 is a successful film, mostly, when we see Wahlberg and Ted wander through, looking for stuff to do. The ideas they come up with and the insults they hurl are sublime to those who appreciate bad decision-making. It slows when they have anything resembling a plot that involves hurting the stuffed bear, and, to be honest, who really needs another court scene in a comedy. You’d figure that they would have learned this years ago, but apparently I am the only one that saw Judd Nelson’s career die with From the Hip. In fact, the last time I recall a half-way decent courtroom comedy working was My Cousin Vinny. And much of that film is outside of the courtroom.

These issues are enough to take the film down a point, but not enough to cancel out what works. Hopefully next time we see more innocent nerds hurt at Comic Con, if for no other reason than because Worf and The Tick are in love.

(***1/2 out of *****)

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