After western-comedy flop A Million Days To Die In The West, writer-director Seth Macfarlane returns to his bawdy Ted franchise. The result is razor-edged.
Ted 2 Mark Wahlberg

With Family Guy and American Dad! Macfarlane cemented his reputation as a comedic risk taker. In Ted 2 he sails especially close to the wind. As living teddy-bear Ted tries to prove he’s a ‘person’ in a court of law, the comedic undercurrent centres boldly on human rights. It makes for smarter gags than the original Ted while sharing the same relentless energy. The crude verbal sparring between John (Mark Wahlberg) and his buddy (Macfarlane) remains intact too. Macfarlane’s emphasis on what makes us human never overwhelms the franchise’s vulgar spirit. The first thirty minutes uses infertility as an excuse for a whole host of school boy gags before Ted 2 finds its civil rights backbone. But these juvenile laughs aren’t a patch on Ted 2’s demolition of American culture or the uproarious cameos from Jay Leno and Liam Neeson.

Meanwhile, Macfarlane does a fine job smoothing over Mila Kunis’ absence, replacing her with unlikely stoner lawyer Samantha (Amanda Seyfried) as John’s love interest. Their silly weed-fuelled montages mark the low point in this largely well-paced comedy that uses divorce as another of its piercing recurrent gags. Following up a tap-dancing wedding sequence with a shaky camera domestic worthy of The Jerry Springer Show, Macfarlane’s sequel is riotously funny. Given its risky comedic take on political correctness, the biggest surprise is that Ted 2 only occasionally spills over into bad taste.

 

VERDICT: ★ ★ ★ ★ 4/5

 

Certificate: 15
Running time: 115 minutes
Images: © 2015 – Universal Pictures

 

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