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TED 2: 3 STARS. “You’ll laugh & then feel bad about the things you’re laughing at.”

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 9.36.42 AMIn the first five minutes of “Ted 2,” Seth Macfarlane’s sequel to the 2012 stoner-potty-mouth-teddy-bear movie starring Mark Wahlberg, there’s a wedding between a stuffed bear and a human, drug use, Flash Gordon, bear porn and a dance number.

Then it gets weird.

To understand how weird it gets, you have to know the history. When John Bennett (Wahlberg) was a small, lonely child he wished for just one thing—a best friend. His wish came true and Ted (voice of MacFarlane), his trusty teddy bear, came to life. The pair became “Thunder Buddies” for life and room and soul mates. Ted isn’t your usual teddy bear. He smokes pot, swears—imagine bunking with Tommy Chong and Charles Bukowski and you get the idea.—and likes to drive and text at the same time.

In the new film Ted is married to Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) but when the couple decide to adopt a child it’s discovered that in the eyes of the law Ted is considered property and not a person. John and Ted hatch a plan to fight for the bear’s civil rights in court. “We’ll take it all the way to Judge Judy if we have to,” says John. The only lawyer they can afford is a young attorney on her first case, Samantha L. Jackson (Amanda Seyfried) who shares the guy’s affection for pot (she smokes a strain called Help Me Get Home) and agrees to work pro bono.

Add to that court cases, a wild kidnapping plot, a renowned, civil-rights attorney (Morgan Freeman) and a nutty battle at Comic Con.

Ted journey to personhood begins with as laugh a minute. Maybe even every thirty seconds. Full belly laughs, that go well beyond politically correct to a land where very few comedians fear to tread. There are jokes about race, sexuality, the Kardashians, mental illness and a whole host of “That’s too soon” gags. You will laugh even though you’ll feel bad about some of the things you are laughing at. MacFarlane and his “Family Guy” co-writers (Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild) have hit a sweet spot whereby they can use animation and cute teddy bears to push the envelope in very extreme ways. This is not a movie for the easily offended.

Then comes the court case and the movie shifts. The jokes thin out and the subtext about the civil rights of any oppressed people comes front and center. Or at least threatens to for a moment. There are definitely some serious matters afloat here and MacFarlane allows the absurdity of the situation to take a backseat to the issue of basic rights for all people—even if they are bears.

The jokes still come hard and fast, but fewer of them land in the second hour. Perhaps two hours is too long for dirty-mouth stoner bear jokes, or maybe it’s that Wahlberg has less to do here than he did in number one, or that Mila Kunis, so charming in “Ted” is gone, replaced by Seyfried. Seyfried is fine, BTW, and can deliver a joke but Kunis’s relationship with John in the first film provided much of that film’s heart, something part two could use a bit more of.

“Ted 2” has more very funny, very off colour jokes than most movies. Too bad they’re concentrated in the first hour and not spread throughout.

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