Review: ‘Ted 2’ goes too far into unfamiliar territories

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Review: ‘Ted 2’ goes too far into unfamiliar territories

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“Ted 2” asks a question that we never needed, or particularly wanted, to know the answer to: Is Ted, the magical, foul-mouthed, pot-smoking teddy bear, considered a person in the eyes of the law?

While it is unfair to judge a comedy simply for a ridiculous premise, here, it also happens to be the unlikely killer of the overstuffed “Ted 2.” And resolution does not come quickly enough in this nearly two-hour rumination on civil rights and abject stupidity.

Part of the charm of “Ted,” writer-director Seth MacFarlane’s better-than-it-should-have-been story of a grown man and his sentient stuffed animal, was how unaffectedly it treated its talking teddy. Ted just is. No one thinks too hard about the why of it. Combining that silly foundation with Mark Wahlberg’s endearingly dopey intensity was a stroke of brilliance. The movie was allowed to only be about their friendship, and it worked.

Making a sequel to an original comedy is always a tough game, though. More often than not, the desire to please fans and recreate the magic of the first produces nothing more than an exaggerated rehash.

In an admirable effort to go a different route, MacFarlane has instead done something hopelessly bizarre: He has given his film too much sincerity and story, and it practically crushes whatever fun does exist.

This time, we meet up with Ted (voiced again by MacFarlane) at his wedding to fellow grocery store clerk and gum-smacking bombshell Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth). Their newlywed bliss soon curdles and they decide to have a baby to save the marriage.

Because the natural way of going about this business is not an option (for a few reasons), Tami-Lynn and Ted decide to try adoption. It is then that a state authority asks whether or not a stuffed animal should be afforded the rights of a human. And very quickly after that, Ted loses his job, his marriage is invalidated and audiences are forced to endure a horrifying thing: a whiny, self-righteous Ted.

So, best friend John (Wahlberg), now a sad-sack divorcee, and Ted hook up with Samantha Jackson (Amanda Seyfried), a newbie law associate.

Still, it is very rare for a MacFarlane venture to be completely unfunny. There is a Busby Berkeley-style opening number, a fantastic Liam Neeson cameo, a riff on what the “F” stands for in F. Scott Fitzgerald, a “Jurassic Park” bit and a few others. But Ted and John should have stayed on the couch and out of the courtroom. AP

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