Review: 'Ted 2' is more of the same bawdy bear


"Ted 2" reunites Mark Wahlberg's insecure-wallflower character (it's called acting, folks) with the chubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff and racial, sexual, scatological and '80s-reference insults voiced, with movie-saving acumen, by co-writer and director Seth MacFarlane.

"Saving" is relative. Madly uneven, more so than the mediocre 2012 hit that made half a billion worldwide, this one's an easy predictive call. If you got your laughs out of "Ted," you'll likely come crawling back for "Ted 2." It's not the same film, but it's same-adjacent.

"Ted" was rated R for "crude and sexual content, pervasive language and some drug use." "Ted 2," on the other hand, is rated R for "crude and sexual content, pervasive language and some drug use."

The sequel opens with an absurdly lavish musical credit sequence, stealing from Fred Astaire and the Nicholas brothers, set to Irving Berlin's "Steppin' Out With My Baby." (Broadway veteran Rob Ashford choreographed, and beautifully.) Ted the magical talking teddy bear is celebrating his marriage to the woman he calls his "Bawston hoor," played by gum-chewing Jessica Barth. John, played by Wahlberg, married Mila Kunis' blandly tolerant female lead in the first "Ted" but that union has been severed, and John's alone and depressed and addicted to porn. What a lovable loser! Until you start dwelling on that particular detail; then he becomes something less cuddly.

The serious bits in "Ted 2" relate to Ted being revoked of his basic civil rights, his personhood, when the courts declare him to be property, not human. Ted's marriage is annulled; he loses his job. It's up to a fledgling lawyer (Amanda Seyfried, introduced lighting up a bong) to right the wrongs and reawaken John's lust for life.

I laughed three or four times. There's a riff on F. Scott Fitzgerald that works mysteriously well. The Liam Neeson cameo does, too.

The rest of the movie, eh. What I said three years ago about the formula in "Ted" goes for "Ted 2": MacFarlane's career is built on "a high quotient of startlingly crude ethnic and cultural stereotypes leavened by a sincere appreciation for American popular music of another era."

I've seen worse comedies this year, and I'll see better.