Combustible Celluloid
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With: Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane (voice), Amanda Seyfried, Jessica Barth, Giovanni Ribisi, Morgan Freeman, Sam J. Jones, Patrick Warburton, Michael Dorn, Bill Smitrovich, John Slattery, Cocoa Brown, John Carroll Lynch, Ron Canada, Liam Neeson, Dennis Haysbert, Tom Brady, Patrick Stewart (narrator)
Written by: Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild
Directed by: Seth MacFarlane
MPAA Rating: R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use
Running Time: 115
Date: 06/26/2015

Ted 2 (2015)

3 Stars (out of 4)

The Right to Bear

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

When Ted (2012) first appeared, it surprised by being touching as well as funny. Now its sequel surprises by being both funny and touching, as well as also boasting some big ideas. Written and directed by Seth MacFarlane, Ted 2 is extremely vulgar, filled with foul language and sexual innuendo, but it's not mean-spirited. It goes for comic rhythm rather than shock value, and the humor rises from the characters, their friendships, and their personalities.

As the sequel begins, Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane), marries the love of his life, Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth). But when they try to adopt a child, the government becomes aware that Ted is not technically a real person. He loses his job and all his personal documents, and even his marriage is annulled. So he and best pal John (Mark Wahlberg) hire a lawyer, the pretty, pot-smoking Samantha (Amanda Seyfried) to fight it as a Civil Rights case. John (who is now divorced) becomes attracted to Samantha along the way. But it's not an easy fight, and the trio must head to New York for reinforcements. Unfortunately, the creepy Donny (Giovanni Ribisi) has cooked up another evil plan to get a Ted of his own.

True to MacFarlane's previous works, the movie is still filled with pop culture references, but these are much cleverer than usual; they are worked into the fabric of the well-structured story rather than just haphazardly dropped in. However, the real touch here is a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington-like sense of social justice. There are impassioned speeches about Civil Rights, clearly meant to mirror, and comment upon, some of our current political conversations. In other words, Ted 2 is smarter than the average summer comedy.

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