Ted 2

 

Those who saw the first installment know that Ted is a teddy bear come to life. But despite his cute little presence, when he actually speaks, it turns out that Ted (the voice of Seth MacFarlane) has a dirty mind.  And a foul mouth.  In fact, he’s pretty much stuck in the adolescent sexual repression stage, where the default mind mode is free-reign libido.  Oh, and he smokes pot.  And he encouraged in all of this by his “thunder-buddy” John (Mark Wahlberg), his “best friend for life.”  Which basically means that neither one of them will ever grow up into mature, functioning adults.  But that’s part of their charm?

Ted does have a girlfriend, Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth), a gum-chomping smut-dressing brazen bombshell, who dresses up nicely for her wedding, in the first scene, but after that, well, she’s comfortable just being like one of the guys.  John is kind of a sad sack, though, because he and his girlfriend just broke up, and he’s so heartbroken he can’t bring himself to respond to any of the thinly-veiled come-ons from random barmaids and waitresses. Tami-Lynn and Ted both have minimum-wage cashier jobs at the local convenience store, and soon the bills pile up and they start arguing about money.  But the unlikely threesome now has a much bigger problem:  the application for the wedding license has awakened the State to the reality that Ted isn’t, well, a real person, and therefore can’t be married.  Not only that, he can’t have a job, can’t register for Social Security, can’t vote, can’t (legally) drive, and is pretty much a non-entity.  Property.

Despite all the interspersed gross-out skits and perverse cameos (Liam Neeson and Tom Brady and Jay Leno and a host of Comic Con nerds are more than willing to make fun of themselves), there’s really a serious undercurrent to this wacky adult comedy.  It almost feels like a passionate parable for the legalization of undocumented immigrants.  Ted and John find themselves seeking legal help, and come across Samantha (Amanda Seyfried), a sweet, wide-eyed, kindred (pot-smoking) spirit who just graduated from law school, but sure, she’ll be glad to argue their case.  And her spirited courtroom defense echoes all the expected historical references to slavery.

            Now we’ve really gotten serious.  Serious enough to bring in Morgan Freeman, the dignified, golden-throated one, playing a highly-sought-after attorney who’s going to convince the jury in this landmark civil rights case, that Ted really is a “real” person.

            But despite all this heavy-sounding dramatics, we’re never very far away from gutter language and bathroom humor and pop-culture in-jokes, and the irresistible urge to make fun of everyone (not even Bill Cosby is spared).  It’s exactly the kind of risque drivel you’d feel like watching if you just didn’t want to think about anything, and want to laugh at anyone else.  The language, unfortunately, includes many instances of breaking the 2nd commandment, which will bother the faith-based folks much more than the pervasive locker-room humor.  But then, we’re probably not the target audience, anyway.

Questions for Discussion:       

1)                  What citizen rights should be granted to undocumented illegal immigrants? (And, by inference, which would be denied?)

2)                  Should there be a “path to citizenship” that would include the dreaded “a-word,” amnesty?

Dr. Ronald P. Salfen is the Supply Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Kaufman, Texas