I think I have a fairly foolproof way to determine if you'll like sequel to the unexpected 2012 hit TED, the film that paired Mark Wahlberg and a foul-mouth, pothead teddy bear voiced by "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane (who also directed and co-wrote). Whatever your reaction to TED was, that will likely be your reaction to TED 2, which expands the mythology of the character a bit and even finds a way (some might say, appropriately) to equate Ted's struggle to be given the same rights as a person (to marry, adopt, hold a job, and presumably donate organs) to current headlines about marriage equality struggles and other civil rights concerns. Ted and his human pal John (Wahlberg) still manage to have lewd and crude adventures in their quest to get the bear his rights, and they offend pretty much everyone they come into contract with in the process.
The film opens with Ted and girlfriend Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) getting married and asking John to donate sperm for their baby (after a failed attempt to "steal" a sample from Tom Brady is thwarted by Tom Brady). Shortly after John has gallons of semen dumped on him (all in the name of a single stupid punchline) at the fertility clinic, the feds decide that since he's not human, Ted's marriage isn't real and he can't legally be the father of the baby. He is, in fact, property; something that his old nemesis Donny (Giovanni Ribisi) is planning to take advantage of with the help of the toy company that made Ted (led by John Carroll Lynch). Donny wants to reclaim Ted for Hasbro, so they can see what makes him tick in the hopes of manufacturing more talking, thinking, feeling toys just like him.
John and Ted are assigned, pro bono, rookie lawyer Samantha Jackson (Amanda Seyfried) to attempt to take his case to trial and secure Ted's rights, and the case begins to generate publicity as the team heads to New York to meet with big-time civil rights attorney Patrick Meighan (Morgan Freeman). There are a smattering of celebrity cameos—some playing themselves, others just popping in for bit parts. Flash Gordon's Sam J. Jones is back as the boys' one true famous friend. And there's a very strange Liam Neeson appearance in a grocery that I couldn't explain if I wanted to (stay until after the credits to see how that gag pays off).
But is it funny? As I said at the top, your reaction to this film will likely be the same as the first because it's about as funny. There are more one-liners that hit than don't; and some of the more extended gags pay off tremendously, while other just hit the ground with the thud of silence. There are a great number of "Family Guy"-like asides (one set at an improv show sticks in my mind as especially hilarious), and those mostly work. One of my favorite running jokes is a series of comments about a particular aspect of Seyfried's appearance that pays of quite nicely in the film's climactic chase scene through New York Comic-Con.
I'm in no way claiming either TED movie is high art, but MacFarlane certainly has his moments of clever humor right alongside his dippiest dick and poop jokes. There is something really interesting and entertaining about watching Wahlberg basically take a back seat to a CG teddy bear, and just play dumb and stoned for two hours. If I had one major complaint about the structure of the film, it's that Wahlberg's role is somewhat diminished, even when he's on screen. The guy has proven himself to have a fairly on-point sense of comic timing, and it's a shame he's been reduced to getting covered in jizz and getting freaked out when he smokes some especially strong weed. I was a fan of Ted, and dammit, I laughed a lot at TED 2. Sue me, because your sense of humor is so sophisticated.