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Almost anyone who saw "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane's movie Ted would have seen a sequel coming sooner or later. An R-rated comedy about a talking teddy bear who remains by his best human friend's side as he grows up and becomes a foul-mouthed stoner, the movie was a good concept with some big laughs but not much of a plot aside from a weak attempt to kidnap Ted. With that movie setting up the characters and concepts though, Ted 2 gives them much more to do.
We re-join our friends as Ted (who is computer-animated based on motion capture of Seth MacFarlane's performances as well as voiced by him sounding much like his Peter Griffin character) marries his supermarket co-worker Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth), but his human pal John (Mark Wahlberg) has recently divorced Lori who he married at the end of the first movie. (I figured this was because somehow Mila Kunis was not able to appear in this movie, and it turns out she was pregnant at the time of shooting.) Ted and Tami-Lynn's marriage ends up only faring a bit better, as they become a mostly bickering couple within a year. They realize that a child is what's missing in their marriage and obviously being unable to conceive one themselves, they first try to find a sperm donor. In a nutshell that doesn't quite work out, so they then try to adopt a child and find a huge problem that becomes the basis for this sequel: Legally, Ted is not a person and not only is he ineligible to adopt a child, he also can't be married or have a job or any other rights he's enjoyed so far. Ted and John search for a lawyer to fight this injustice, and while a prominent local lawyer won't take their case he does recommend his niece Samantha Jackson (Amanda Seyfried) who has just finished law school. She's a bit young, but earns their trust when they find that she also likes getting stoned. Although she's still quite proper otherwise, she quickly adapts to John and Ted's humor and manners of speaking.
This takes the movie in several directions as the three of them research together, take the case to court and make a road trip from Boston to New York to enlist the help of civil rights attorney Patrick Meighan (Morgan Freeman). Meanwhile Ted's kidnapper Donny (Giovanni Ribisi) has become a janitor at the Hasbro toy company (since he wasn't sent to prison for his last crime) and hearing about Ted's troubles figures that this time he can grab Ted without violating any laws and bring him back to the company where he can be studied to make more living teddy bears just like him. Donny thinks the best way to do this is to cut Ted open which of course won't be too comfortable for him, so naturally Ted has to keep this from happening.
This is certainly a sequel where your enjoyment will depend on your opinion of the first movie. Frankly speaking if you didn't like the first Ted and didn't buy the whole talking bear thing at all or didn't find the vulgar humor funny, this movie won't change your mind on that. While there's more of a point to this movie than the first, it requires that you at least have a vested interest in what happens to Ted and friends. That said I enjoyed Ted 2 for continuing the fun. The same type of humor prevails here with what the MPAA calls "Crude and Sexual Content and Pervasive Language" with plenty of random shots taken at celebrities and recent events. One of the funniest scenes which I wish had gone on much longer is when the group visits an improv comedy show and shout out some highly inappropriate suggestions for jokes. This movie does give its material far more time than most comedies- while it's customary for this kind of movie to run about 90 minutes and leave many jokes and gags on the cutting room floor, here they throw that to the wind and let it run for a full hour and 55 minutes- and if that isn't enough, the "Unrated" version gives it ten minutes more pushing it over the two hour mark. While this running time could potentially make the movie drag and wear out its welcome, I didn't see that happening here. As the narrative moves from a continuation of the first Ted's humor to courtroom drama to road movie, I just went with it and let everything take the time it needed to happen. As in the first movie, the cast plays the ridiculous premise rather straight and the animated Ted is well-done enough to make him both funny but also realistic and not so cartoon-like that you're constantly reminded that he was added in post-production. Again if you decide early on that you don't like this, you'll be much less forgiving of the running time.
Ted 2 is presented on both Blu-Ray and DVD in its theatrical version and an Unrated cut, and time is the main difference between the two- the differences don't appear to have much of an effect on a higher MPAA rating that some might have been hoping for. As with the unrated cut of the first movie, a few more lines and beats are tossed into some scenes, but this also adds a number of additional incidents including a car chase which likely took a lot of work to shoot but were likely axed from the theatrical version to keep it at least under two hours.
Like the first movie this sequel is shot digitally but expanded (on a proper screen at least) to 2.35 this time. Detail shines through on the Blu-Ray's hi-def presentation, with my only nit-picks being some slight banding in some dark shots which might have been inherent in the source material, and some aliasing seen on Boston's brick buildings which shows that we really do need the forthcoming Ultra-HD format. The computer-animated "Ted" blends in seamlessly with his live-action co-stars. A standard DVD is also included and that almost looks like a mis-focused film presentation in comparison, but likely the best this movie can look with that format's limitations.Sound:
The 5.1 sound mix in DTS-HD Master Audio (Dolby Digital on the DVD) has just a few rear-channel effects but the movie doesn't really call for many. Walter Murphy's jazzy music score sounds strong, almost too good for this type of movie, and of course the dialogue comes through loud and clear.
Both discs include a Descriptive Video Service track (during the theatrical version only) and dubs in Spanish and French as well as subtitles in those languages and English hearing-impaired subs.
Besides the "unrated" cut of the movie, about four minutes of deleted scenes deemed unworthy for either cut are included on the Blu-Ray, one with unfinished special effects. A gag reel shows a few flubbed lines and the cast breaking down in laughter, with a prop bear standing in for the CG Ted. "Thunder Buddies 4 Lyfe" (on both discs) is a standard making-of piece running about seven minutes, "A Giant Opening Dance Number" shows how the impressive opening credits sequence with Ted dancing amongst many live dancers on a huge set, "Roadtripping" shows highlights of shooting the drive from Boston to New York, "Cameo Buddies" focuses on a few stars who appear in the movie, and "Creating Comic-Con" shows the production of the scenes taking place at that festival in New York. It turns out all of that was done on a soundstage; on first viewing I thought that Comic-Con had just happened to be going on during shooting and they decided to work it in but that wasn't the case. (I personally found that whole thing a bit awkward and mostly an excuse to show off many unrelated characters.) Finally, there's a commentary track which accompanies both cuts of the movie with Seth MacFarlane, co-writers Alex Sulkin and Wellesley Wild, and actress Jessica Barth. It's very conversational and fun while including a few interesting stories behind some of the movie's gags. One advantage of the DVD is that the commentary is subtitled in all three languages while there are no subtitles for it on the Blu-Ray.
Many movies have left me wanting more, but this sequel to Ted comes closest in terms of actually delivering that. Yes, it runs rather long but hardly wears out its welcome. Kudos to Universal for continuing to include both the theatrical and unrated cuts in one release (remember the four separate releases of American Pie 2?) and including a substantial amount of extras that should keep Ted's fans entertained for quite a while.
Jesse Skeen is a life-long obsessive media collector (with an unhealthy preoccupation with obsolete and failed formats) and former theater film projectionist. He enjoys watching movies and strives for presenting them perfectly, but lacks the talent to make his own.