Hollywood has long forgotten to be content with one-hit wonders and the oddball success of a standalone movie outside of franchises and or multi-part YA series. This was the part of the appeal of 2012's “Ted,” a story so strange it could have been left as a cultural weirdo. A one-off Mark Wahlberg movie where he remains the world’s oldest juvenile with his potty mouthed stuffed bear named Ted (Seth MacFarlane).
Instead, there must be a sequel, "Ted 2." Forcibly drawn-up drama in the wake of Ted’s marriage to his ex-junkie wife, Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth), and their efforts to procreate. Meanwhile John (Wahlberg) has gotten a divorce from the character Mila Kunis played in the first film. One could assume that Kunis saw the barely stitched script and called its bluff, but hopefully she didn’t bother that far into the process.
“Ted 2” decides to march a political line when Ted’s personhood is called into question. Uncomfortably coupled with Ted’s quest is the number of real-life court cases mentioned in the struggle for civil rights. The jokes about personhood don’t exactly land with grace when the case for #BlackLivesMatter is still debated upon in the nightly news and daily think pieces. This is hardly satire, just more of quasi-progressive humor that feels antiquated as this summer’s “Entourage.”
MacFarlane is a strange blend of zing-filled pop culture references and stale sexist, homophobic and racist shtick. “Ted 2” harbors little favor to dispel that “Family Guy” brand of humor into anything sustainably funny. For every good idea (like shouting sad suggestions at an improve show) there are three cringe worthy jokes about black men. There’s no new, inappropriate ground the first “Ted” didn’t cover before, so why exactly are we and Wahlberg here?
Like a “Family Guy” re-run you leave on TBS during one of its innumerable marathons, it’s best to watch “Ted 2” for the pop culture puns and Busby Berkley dance numbers than anything that actually happens in the movie. How else do you explain a day-long drive between Boston to New York or tickets still available at New York Comic Con other than lazy contrived writing? Forget turning your brain off for “Ted 2,” watch this movie when you’re barely conscious or half-asleep and you will enjoy fonder memories of this latest unnecessary Hollywood sequel.
"Ted 2" hits theaters Friday.