Since the childhood wish of his best friend John (Mark Wahlberg) brought him to glorious life decades ago, Ted (a three-foot tall stuffed teddy bear voiced by Seth MacFarlane) has gone about the business of living the life of a slacker, whose only ambition is to get high while cracking wise during “Law & Order” marathons. By extension, this uneventful life has avoided the snare of the United States government.
That ends when Ted decides to grow up, if only just a little bit.
Ted’s married to the sexy and trashy Tami-Lynn. After only a year, they’ve gone from wedded bliss to the full-Stella and Stanley (wifebeater included), and naturally come to the conclusion that only a child can save their marriage.
There’s just one problem: Ted is a stuffed toy and Tami-Lynn’s degenerate drug past has turned her uterus into something that looks like a used litterbox. The only option, then, is adoption, which means brushing up against the government.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts not only denies the adoption, now that Ted has landed on their radar, he is stripped of all his rights — along with his personhood, his job, his credit cards, and the sharpest cut of all, his Papa John’s loyalty membership. Ted is now property.
Thus begins a quest for Ted’s civil rights, and a story that is not at all what you expect.
As the saying goes, “With great power comes great responsibility,” and after the mind-boggling box office success of 2012’s “Ted” ($550 million worldwide), co-writer/producer/director/star Seth MacFarlane almost certainly had something nearing carte blanche when it came to his sequel. I am happy to report MacFarlane used that power responsibly: to advance the most righteous of causes with a blistering attack against political correctness.
The “Ted 2” trailer would have you believe you’re in for a preach-a-thon in favor of same sex marriage, or some feel-good movie about Ted learning feel-good lessons about what it means to be human.
MacFarlane shows his thematic cards in the film’s funniest scene, what some might wrongly interpret as a throwaway moment (there are a lot of those) when John and Ted attend a comedy improv show. The comedians onstage ask the audience for skit ideas and to their great discomfort are met with shouts from Ted and John of, “9/11!, ” “Robin Williams!,” and other “inappropriate” topics. The so-called comedians instead pretend to hear safe and easy topics.
Other than being hilarious, this scene is a withering attack against a milquetoast comedic class currently cowed by the cultural fascism of political correctness. And so is all of “Ted 2.” It is not an overstatement to say that MacFarlane has used his power to make his own “Blazing Saddles.”
MacFarlane is himself a committed leftist but other than a single joke aimed at Fox News, “Ted 2” is all about sticking a finger in the eye of the increasingly censorious left. Good-natured but still biting black and gay jokes fly at a pace unseen since, well, “Blazing Saddles.” MacFarlane’s genius is that the jokes aren’t aimed at blacks and gays, they are aimed at those who demand blacks and gays be inoculated from satire.
When an uber-macho, interracial gay couple (played with gusto by Patrick Warburton and Michael Dorn) start to physically bully every nerd within their orbit at Comic Con, MacFarlane’s open belligerence is simply a joy to behold.
MacFarlane gets an extra gold star for a running gag about a penis bong — a series of jokes thrown right in the face of the same left-wing critic class that exploded with outrage over “Get Hard,” a Will Ferrell comedy that dared portray a heterosexual male repulsed by the idea of gay sex.
As always MacFarlane’s irreverence ends with his love of music. You will be treated to two musical sequences, one an affectionate nod to MGM’s glory days. John Hughes and John Candy also earn well-deserved tributes.
Not all the “Ted 2” jokes work (plenty do), and the movie felt about 15 minutes too long. “Ted 2” is still, by far, the funniest comedy to come along since “Ted,” and the crude humor (sometimes very crude) is offset in large part by the charm of the leads (Wahlberg is superb).
Conservatives have had a rough week. How ironic, then, that one of Hollywood’s most powerful leftists gave us a bright spot.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC