"Raunchy, Drug Humor with Some Redemptive Moments"
What You Need To Know:
Crated by FAMILY GUY’s Seth MacFarlane, TED 2 uses as much crude humor and foul language as possible. Like the first movie, it also shows marijuana smoking in an excessive, positive light. Surprisingly, however, TED 2 contains some interesting, provocative elements concerning what it means to be human and what it means to have a soul. The movie also extols sacrifice and selfless love. That said, the raunchy material, abundant foul language and marijuana advocacy make TED 2 excessive and unacceptable. Sadly, Seth and the team behind TED 2 stoop much too low and much too often into the gutter.
(RoRo, PaPa, Ho, C, B, LLL, V, SS, AA, DDD, MM) Strong Romantic worldview with immoral pagan behavior and some homosexual references that include a couple scenes where a homosexual couple is positively shown, and they beat up numerous nerds at a comic-book convention, mitigated by a surprising amount of redemptive, moral elements extolling sacrifice, marriage, selfless love, and a message against pornography use, plus references to having a soul are treated seriously and not attacked; at least 160 obscenities (including many “f” words) and 10 to 15 profanities, plus numerous scatological jokes; some comic violence includes a big brawl at a comic book convention; no explicit sex, but lots of sexual innuendoes and crude sexual references, plus brief lewd dancing simulating sex, a couple scenes with a homosexual couple, man accidentally spills material from jars at a sperm bank on himself, man and his teddy bear friend sneak into famous football player’s house to get some of his seed so teddy bear could have an athletic child to adopt but they are caught, insinuations and allusions to bestiality when teddy bear who’s magically alive wants to marry a woman and adopt children while possibly using a sperm bank, and talking teddy bear’s male human friend admits he’s developed an addiction to pornography after his divorce and the addiction is seen as a negative, and kissing; no nudity; alcohol use and drunkenness; much marijuana use and very strong positive references to such drug use, often used for comedy; and, mean behavior, two characters break into house of famous football player, accidental vandalism, and attempted kidnapping.
The movie TED took the movie business by surprise back in 2012, when the silly comedy about a grown man named Johnny played by Mark Wahlberg, who still lives with the teddy bear, Ted, he had as a child. The reason why he kept the childhood memento is because Ted magically came to life one Christmas and became Johnny’s best friend (aka “Thunder Buddy”) for life.
That movie, co-written and directed by Seth MacFarlane of FAMILY GUY television infamy, in his live-action filmmaking debut (and co-starring MacFarlane as the voice of Ted), made $218 million in the Canada and the U.S. alone and $550 million worldwide. That success was almost inexplicable, as the movie largely consisted of Johnny and Ted getting into one debauched situation after another, involving drugs, sex, hookers, car chases and more, all shown through the prism of a completely stupid movie that had some laughs in it but very little plot to string them together.
With so much money behind it, TED 2 seemed ready to go in a completely strange and wrong direction. The story is about Ted having to prove his personhood in order to have the right to stay married to his human wife and to adopt children. If he can’t prove he’s the same as a human mentally and emotionally, he will be regarded merely as property and even lose his job as a grocery store cashier.
Thus, the ads for TED 2 have featured Ted in a buttoned-up suit, sitting in a courtroom rather than having anarchic fun with Johnny all across Boston. The ads gave the movie a self-serious tone, and seemed to also be a hamfisted allegory for the battle over same-sex “marriage.”
Thankfully, nothing could be further from the truth. The new movie is packed with gags and one-liners from nearly the beginning to end, with many of the best lines taking politically incorrect swipes at the deserving likes of Kanye West and the Kardashians, and Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler.
Like the first movie, MacFarlane and his co-writers insert a constant, obscenity laced stream of marijuana-smoking jokes and scenarios. However, they also add homages to movies like PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES and FIELD OF DREAMS as well as some funny jabs and comical insults at a string of celebrities.
Thus, TED 2 maintains the tradition of MacFarlane’s FAMILY GUY in using as much crude yet clever humor as possible. Also, since he has more “freedom” in an R-rated movie than in FCC-regulated television, this means TED 2 contains many, many obscenities. Add in the frequent pot jokes and total advocacy of marijuana smoking, and TED 2 is definitely not a movie for media-wise viewers, especially people of faith.
There are also numerous sexual and scatological jokes, though (unlike the first movie) no explicit sex or nudity is shown. There are, however, some gross visual gags set in a sperm bank. There is also an absurd fight set at a comic-book convention, in which numerous costumed comic book fans duke it out in silly fashion. Finally, Johnny is friends with a homosexual couple who have a few jokes based on their punching and tripping the nerds at the comic-book convention. All these moments are more mean than funny.
On top of the raunchiness, the sequel again shows marijuana smoking in an excessive and positive fashion. This is especially destructive for the many children and teenagers who are likely to sneak into the movie or watch it later on TV or video.
However, the strange thing about TED 2 is that it also makes a few good points along the way. Ted’s battle to regain his marriage places high value upon marriage and doesn’t resort to the same-sex marriage allegory it could have been. Johnny and their lawyer fall in love with each other, and never have sexual relations, implied or not. Their relationship is sweet and chaste and involves a surprisingly beautiful love song that MacFarlane actually wrote himself.
The movie also comically attacks the use of pornography, as Ted confronts Johnny about how much he’s watching and how perverse it is. Ted tells Johnny he can’t just watch porn but needs to get out and find a new relationship again after his divorce (Johnny is not shown as Christian, so arguing the merits of divorce and remarriage doesn’t enter the picture here). The way Johnny and Ted completely destroy Johnny’s laptop is hilarious, and the movie clearly shows that his newfound, chaste relationship with another woman is vastly preferable to his porn addiction.
Most impressively, MacFarlane and his co-writers weave in an intelligent and occasionally moving discussion of what the definition of personhood is. Is a person formed by having a soul, their mind or their heartfelt emotions? The fact that they can debate these big questions (and arrive at a pretty moral and sound conclusion), mixing the raunchy humor with smart jokes about such landmark Supreme Court cases as the Dred Scott decision, Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. The Board of Education is somewhat remarkable. Eventually, the movie weaves in some messages extolling sacrifice and selfless love into this material.
Wahlberg is hilarious fun as the perpetually stoned and utterly stupid Johnny. Amanda Seyfried brings some luminous romantic magic and smarts to her role as the dope-smoking lawyer who takes on Ted’s case pro bono. The movie also has a stream of big-surprise cameos that are so well cast and sharply performed that the packed audience at the advance screening MOVIEGUIDE® attended exploded with laughter.
With such artistic factors in its favor, it’s a shame MacFarlane felt the need to stoop so low and so often into the gutter. Here’s hoping his work will move to be cleaner the next time, and MacFarlane will raise the moral quality of his work to match its artistic inventiveness. Be that as it may, the raunchy material, abundant foul language and marijuana advocacy in TED 2 still makes Macfarlane’s work philosophically, psychologically, socially, morally, and spiritually unacceptable.