by ALEX CARNEVALE
dir. Seth MacFarlane
At the beginning of Ted 2 the title character is living in a two-room apartment with his wife Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth). The two have slowly been growing apart. After examining their credit card bills, Ted determines that his wife has spent $120 on clothing at Filene's Basement, an amount he deems excessive for an outlet store. He lashes out at Tami-Lynn, asking her why she needs nice clothing for work when her job as a grocery store cashier demands she wear an apron over it.
Due to drug use, Tami-Lynn's ovaries have been corrupted into a black fugue. Because they cannot have a child together, and no agency sees them as fit adoptive parents, Ted considers their marriage effectively over. This is the single most offensive notion in Ted 2, although it is not the first time that fertility issues have let directly to divorce.
The rest of Ted's jokes aren't terribly offensive at all. They are scaled back a lot from MacFarlane's long-running animated series Family Guy, where some of the things said about blacks, Jews, women and Frank Sinatra are downright disrespectful. Ted 2 is tame in comparison - most of the humor is about ejaculation and blowjobs. Seth at least had the dignity to hire African-American actors to say the really wretched things.
In order to get Ted certified as a person and not a material good, he and his friend John (Mark Wahlberg) hire a lawyer named Samantha (Amanda Seyfried). MacFarlane spends most of the movie making fun of Seyfried's disturbingly prominent eyes. Despite enjoying Ted's favorite pasttime — marijuana smoking — Samathana is deemed not as cool as a 40 year old guy wearing what appears to be a hairpiece and a stuffed teddy because she has never seen Rocky 3.
Ted 2 was begging for a road movie where MacFarlane could really examine America up close and make jokes about people the elites on the coasts secretly suspect are inbred racists who believe in omnipotent supernatural beings.
Instead Seth targets most of his jokes here at the elites themselves, since most of these one-liners, except the one involving Wahlberg being coated in semen, can only be understood with a college degree or by Good Will Hunting-esque prodigies.
Ted 2 starts to get exceptionally dreary and dull in its second act, when a long courtroom scene slows the comedy to a devastating crawl. Neither Wahlberg or Seyfried is good at anything much escept being a straight man. This would normally be fine, but Ted is just a despondent, rather depressing individual here and even his normal joie de vivre would not be enough to carry material this dull. This Ted is not wild or funny at all, just sad that no one respects his choices or personality.
The rest of the movie is not much better, as Ted's depression leads him to walk around Comic Con where a vendor is selling his clones for $40, and a Hasbro employee named Donny (Giovanni Ribisi) tries to analyze him for science.
Ted 2 reminds one of the serious turn taken by John Landis' worst movie, Beverly Hills Cop 3. Beverly Hills Cop 3 would never have been released today. Someone would have seen it for what it was — a dramatic version of a comedy series predicated on Eddie Murphy's wild improvisation. He refused to do any of that in the production of Beverly Hills Cop 3, thinking this wacky kind of behavior did not fit an older, more mature detective. He may have been right, but no one wanted to see it.
Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.
"The Starting Line" - Matt Pond PA (mp3)
"A Second Lasts A Second" - Matt Pond PA (mp3)