2013 saw Seth MacFarlane have a surprise hit on his hands with Ted, the story of a grown man and his teddy bear who came to life when he wished really hard one night. The film was full of pop culture references, gags and gross out humour, while still holding a lot of heart. It hit well with audiences with $502 million at the box office, so now Ted is back at it again with another film full of the same style of laughs , inappropriate celebrity digs and gross out scenes. This time around though,there is a not so subtle message about marriage equality, love and how we value ourselves.
John (Mark Wahlberg) has been divorced for six months and is now best man at Ted (Seth Macfarlane) wedding to long term girlfriend Tami-Lyn (Jessica Barth). Their life starts out great, but flash forward a year and things are not looking to good, the pair are fighting all the time and it is causing tension at work. When Ted comes up with the idea to have a child so they can “learn to love each other again” Going through the adoption process is not easy, and their application raises some red flags about the validity of Ted’s marriage, and also his right to work, have bank accounts and everything else that makes Ted one of us.
When Ted and John decide to fight for Ted’s civil rights, they find lawyer Sam(antha) L. Jackson (Amanda Seyfried), a lawyer who takes them on as her first ever case and help get his life and marriage back.
The previous film worked as a standalone film, and the thought of a sequel seemed like and easy cash grab and way to just repeat the plot of the first film, fortunately the sequel builds open the original, the characters are already established and don’t need repeating, what worked was adding a strong layer of heart and underlying message of equality, love and rights that surprised and came across as genuine in this film. During the court case a lot of comparisons are made between past civil rights cases with America’s past with slaves and homosexuality. It really is a poignant time in history to be making this statement and the whole thing surprised and impressed me.
If you are worried about the film being too serious don’t. There is still enough filthy jokes and gags packed into this that are so outrageous and some are truly shocking. A few jokes about 911, Charlie Hebdo and Robin Williams were thrown around, and felt like a tribute rather than a jab, however the memorable Kardashians joke was vomit inducing while still being hilariously funny.
Ted looks amazing, the special effects are incredible and much more noticeable in this cashed up sequel. Scenes filmed at ComicCon in New York are beautiful and well choreographed. The opening credits scene of Ted in a tuxedo dancing with a row of chorus girls/guys a top a wedding cake is like something fresh out of Family Guy and a welcome intro.
Overall Ted 2 surprised me. It is fresh, funny and smart, while offering up a beautiful and timely message that we have not come to expect from a Seth Macfarlane comedy.
Ted 2 is bound to be Universal’s next big hit to continue their box office domination in 2015.
Review by Alaisdair Dewar