A talking bear can only get so many laughs right before moviegoers wise up and shove their hard earned dollars elsewhere? Seth McFarlane’s hard partying pot smoking profanity spewing protagonist manages to flip that ideal on its head and produce not only a funny flick, but one that is more hilarious than the original Ted. Behold, the return of the talking bear from Boston(voiced by McFarlane himself) and his friend, John Bennett( a show stopping Mark Wahlberg).
What makes the sequel funny? Fresh jokes that weren’t all spoiled in the film’s two minute plus trailer, which is where most comedy sophomore efforts go to die. Shove all the funny bone material into the tease and when the folks pile into the seats they play countdown until the last moment from the trailer has played itself out. McFarlane(who directs as well) and his two writers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild spread out the action like a good old fashioned New England Patriots two minute drill towards the end zone. Yes, Tom Brady makes a cameo and he isn’t that bad.
Unlike Wahlberg’s TV show brought to life through the movies, Entourage, the cameos here aren’t overcooked and are put to good use. Instead of merely flicking off Ari Gold, Liam Neeson has one of the best moments in the film as a ultra serious grocery shopper who wants to know if it’s okay for adults to buy Trix cereal. Brady doesn’t just fake cry in a golf cart here. He gets to serve as one of the film’s funniest gags that is scores bigger in the film than it did in the trailer. Patrick Warburton(Rules of Engagement) returns as John’s insecure friend Guy, and his few scenes are laugh out loud funny. When they decide to get this man his stand alone show, network comedy television may live again. Morgan Freeman shows up. Samuel L. Jackson jokes drop. Mr. T’s Clubber Lane gets some action and the cast is uniformly stout. John Slattery, Giavanni Ribisi and Amanda Seyfried all acquit themselves well but it’s the two main stars that carry the bulk of the action.
Every time people find a way to slam Wahlberg, I’ll alert them to his underrated knack for comedy. He can play the action heroes in his sleep and occasionally churn out a fine dramatic performance, but his comedy is first rate. Go watch The Other Guys, I Heart Huckabees or Ted for a good setup. No one plays the straight laced foil better than Wahlberg, and while McFarlane’s Ted steals some of the better one liners, Wahlberg’s Bennett is the engine that keeps the good times rolling. If there was a less game actor in the role, the entire operation of “Make a comedy with a talking bear funny” would die a quick death. Wahlberg and McFarlane could go on busting audiences up all decade if they keep making movies this funnier.
Sure, there is an overlong musical number to open the film(hinting at Seth’s need to be a musician as well as a show stopping jazz wannabe) and there are moments that are so telegraphed it hurts, but for the most part, Ted 2’s 115 minute running is a smooth sail of a cinematic experience. While it doesn’t have the electric action of Mad Max: Fury Road or the all around fun of Jurassic World, Ted 2 does have something going for it. The ability to generate laughter out of anyone, and that doesn’t just include Family Guy fans. Ask me and everybody can use a good laugh. Ted 2 delivers it and for fans of the original, you will find more than enough to ride home with. It also stays raunchy until the very end instead of going completely soft.
Selling point for a comedy about a bear and his trials and tribulations in being deemed an actual human being(that’s the entire plot right there) is simple. If it’s got soul and can make you laugh, who cares what it looks like. Comedy comes in many shades and in this particular case, Seth McFarlane’s bad boy bear is the hottest thing on the block. While he flubbed the Oscars and should stay away from the Wild West, McFarlane is safe with me if he wants to make more Ted adventures. Are they stupid fun? Yes, but when compared with dinosaur flicks and superheroes fighting wars on floating cities, it fits right in.
Reminder-Stay for the post credits sequence involving our favorite Irish action hero.