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By Dustin Heller

Ted 2 is the new comedy from the mind of the creator of Family Guy, Seth MacFarlane.  This is the sequel to the 2012 smash hit Ted, which was also written and directed by MacFarlane.  Ted is currently the highest-grossing original R-rated comedy of all time, and Ted 2 is hoping to follow in its predecessor’s footsteps.  The film stars MacFarlane as the voice of Ted, along with Mark Wahlberg, Amanda Seyfried, Morgan Freeman, and Giovanni Ribisi.

Ted (voice of MacFarlane) is now married to Tami-Lynn and going through the struggles of married life, so the next logical step is for the couple to have a baby.  Ted obviously can’t make a baby, so he and John (Wahlberg) go on the hunt for an appropriate sperm donor.  After a failed attempt, the couple looks into adoption where the issue of Ted being a thing instead of a person comes into question.  Due to this, Ted loses his job and finds out his marriage wasn’t recognized by the state either.

Now Ted and John must fight to prove that Ted is a person and deserves the same rights as every other human being.  In order to accomplish this, they hire Samantha (Seyfried), a young attorney trying to get her feet wet in a real court setting.  Now, Ted and his friends must prove to the court and the entire country that he is more than just a piece of property, but an actual person with rights.

I want to start off by saying that I wasn’t a fan of Ted and really didn’t find it the least bit funny.  After all, being funny is what a comedy should strive to achieve.  That said, I came out of Ted 2 with similar feelings to the first one, although there are a few gags that are really funny.  The problem with Ted 2 is that it felt like a two hour episode of Family Guy in that it was one pop culture reference after another.  It’s fun to get nostalgic from time to time, but when the nostalgia is the punchline it gets pretty tiresome.

Granted, Seth MacFarlane probably knows more about pop culture than any other person on the planet, but I’m sure some of his references in the movie would go over the heads of anyone under 35 years old.  There is an entire scene that is a direct copy of a scene from the 1987 classic Planes, Trains & Automobiles, but without knowing that reference there wouldn’t be anything funny about the scene.  I think MacFarlane tries to be too smart for his own good at times.  There are a few good cameos in the movie that fall right in line with the pop culture references I’ve mentioned above.

Another issue I had with the movie was that it felt like MacFarlane was shoving his political views down our throats.  I know he is an outspoken liberal, but we don’t need to see that on the screen when we’re trying to have a laugh.  I wish he would have kept his politics out of it–not to mention the egregious amounts of profanity and pot smoking.  I guess I missed the boat in thinking that getting high and using dirty words was supposed to be hilarious.

One positive thing I’d like to comment on is Mark Wahlberg’s performance.  The guy has amazing comedic timing and is really great in this role.  He gets a bad rap most of the time for being so monotone and flat, but he is in his element here.  He was the most enjoyable part of the movie for me.  In the end, Ted 2 will definitely provide some laughs, but not enough for me to recommend a trip to the theater.

Grade: C

Ted 2 opens in theaters on Friday, June 26