Profanity, profanity, obscenity.
We’re talking “Ted 2” here.
We’re talking dirty, yes we are.
We’re talking a movie where every other word out of its characters’ mouths is #@%^*^&((^!!
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And every word in between is +&*#@??!?!
That’s Ted talking. Actually, that’s Seth “The Man from ‘Family Guy’ ” MacFarlane talking through the mouth of the CG-created teddy bear that turned the 2012 comedy bearing his name into a bonkers box office behemoth ($200 million-plus domestic, nearly $550 million worldwide).
Writer-director-fuzzy-critter-vocalizer, MacFarlane is Ted, and Ted is his creator’s id off the leash. There’s no speed governor on the bear’s potty-powered motor mouth, a mouth that will say just about anything for a laugh, no matter how un-PC those things may be.
Sex jokes and dope jokes are “Ted’s” stock in trade. Quite a few work hilariously well. A gag that has characters gawking in awe at a lush field of super marijuana in the manner of the moment when the dinos are first revealed in “Jurassic Park,” complete with John Williams’ signature score, is a hoot.
Others, like a gay bathroom sex joke featuring Jay Leno, not so much. That one’s a throwaway moment that’s emblematic of MacFarlane’s scattershot directorial style: Throw everything at the wall and see what sticks, comedically speaking.
Many of the stickier moments revolve around Ted and his best buddy John’s (Mark Wahlberg) efforts to secure sperm so that Ted can father a child with his ex-druggie wife (Jessica Barth) and thereby save his cratering marriage. For a donor, they choose Tom Brady because Ted and John, Boston lads, are big Patriots fans and, well …
When the donor gambit comes a cropper, Ted and wife seek to adopt a baby, but that lands them in legal trouble because Ted is not a human being and therefore has no right to adopt. That precipitates a courtroom battle to which the pair’s spunky dope-smoking young lawyer (Amanda Seyfried, gamely participating in the rude goings-on) brings in the infamous 19th century Dred Scott Supreme Court decision, which decreed that African Americans could not be American citizens, and the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery. That’s to make the point that depriving a talking teddy bear of legal personhood is akin to slavery.
In the midst of comedy, seriousness. The combination feels forced. A more disciplined and smarter director might have been able to successfully blend the two elements, but crude dude MacFarlane hasn’t the skill to bring it off.