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Ted 2 (Blu-ray Review)

17 Dec, 2015 By: John Latchem

Street 12/15/15
Box Office $81.48 million
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use. Unrated version also available.
Stars Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried, Jessica Barth, Giovanni Ribisi, Morgan Freeman.

The original Ted in 2012 was as delightful a foul-mouthed comedy could get, the perfect tonic for a pop culture-obsessed child of the 1980s. But as great as it was, even the film’s most ardent admirers have to admit it ran out of steam toward the end. Writer-director Seth MacFarlane made his point, ran with it, and had just enough material to pad out the ending.

So it’s easy to imagine that finding another two hours of material with the same premise could be a chore. MacFarlane himself says in the extras he never imagined doing a sequel, and likens it to a TV show in which subsequent episodes tell more stories about the characters.

Ted 2 suffers similar pacing issues to MacFarlane’s interim movie, A Million Ways to Die in the West, in that it feels way too long for a comedy film. The running time clocks in a shade under two hours, and the extended cut piles another 10 minutes on top of that.

The script seems structured like an overlong “Family Guy” episode, with random pop-culture references, cutaway gags and sequences that go on way too long in pushing the joke. There’s probably just enough here to satisfy fans of the first film, but it’s not likely to leave audiences clamoring for more adventures.

The story this time around involves Ted fighting for his civil rights because he’s considered property. While it’s laudable the filmmakers would use the premise of a living teddy bear to explore real-life notions of humanity, the script suffers from a fundamental flaw that almost undermines the whole endeavor because the writers overlooked an obvious angle to the situation: that Ted only exists because of magic, and the supernatural existence of a higher power that implies. It’s not surprising that a noted atheist such as MacFarlane might overlook or ignore the concept as an avenue for ethical exploration, but it’s not as if a similar lack of a belief in a diety has prevented Joss Whedon from effectively layering such motifs into his work in a meaningful way.

Still, there’s a lot of fun to be had if you know where to look, such as in keeping track of all the movie and TV references, up to and including a giant brawl at Comic-Con as pop culture icons battle it out (something Kevin Smith might have staged 15 years ago).

The unrated cut offers a few charming bits, most notably a David Hasselhoff appearance alongside K.I.T.T. the “Knight Rider” car.

At least in the commentary MacFarlane and some of the other filmmakers have enough of a sense of humor to make fun of how much the movie underperformed at the box office, especially against the mega popular Jurassic World (which is apropos, considering there’s a lengthy Jurassic Park gag in the film).

The Blu-ray also includes four minutes of deleted scenes with a few more decent jokes, a three-minute gag reel with more alternate takes, and a slew of behind-the-scenes featurettes.

There’s a general making-of featurette that comes in at seven-and-a-half minutes; a nine-minute featurette about the opening dance number; four “Cameo Buddies” featurettes about guest stars Morgan Freeman, Tom Brady, Liam Neeson and David Hasselhoff, running about a minute each; four “Creating Comic-Con” featurettes totaling 15 minutes; and a nine-minute “Roadtripping” featurette about filming sight gags on location (mostly involving marijuana).

About the Author: John Latchem

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