Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Ted 2’ (2015)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

The non-human partner in cinematic interspecies-like procreation has typically been extra-terrestrial. It’s time to add plush toys to the mix, specifically, Ted, the teddy-bear BFF of man-child John Barrett.

Co-written and directed by Seth MacFarlane, Ted 2 continues the saga of John, who was gifted with Ted in the mid-’80s. Ted, of course, turned into a walking, talking, potty-mouthed, dope-smoking buddy – the mirror image of his master. Except, as we now learn, “master” is an incendiary misnomer.

The movie takes place about a year after John’s (Mark Wahlberg) divorce. Ted (voiced by MacFarlane) can’t figure out why John and the missus couldn’t settle their marital problems. But the shoe is on the other foot when Ted’s marriage to human Tami-Lyn (Jessica Barth) – they’re both supermarket employees – turns into a non-stop shouting match. Ted, who’s anatomically lacking his male member, and Tami-Lynn believe a baby will restore their love but there’s a problem when they try to adopt. Legally, Ted’s not a human: he’s property that belongs to a “master.”

Suddenly, Ted 2’s on a sly, new trajectory. John and Ted realize their only recourse is going to court by getting Samatha Jones (Amanda Seyfried), a game and suitably pot-infatuated young attorney, to defend the bear’s case for Saturnine identity.

There’s nothing forced in the correspondence between Ted’s personal property-vs.-human status issue, which evokes collective issues of civil rights, slavery and the implications of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Dred Scott, a black man who sued for his freedom in 1847, only to have the justice system decide that those of African ancestry could never gain citizenship. A sinister kidnapping ploy underscores the distinction and loophole in status.

The original Ted played with the proverbial Neptunian archetypes of haziness and magic, all of which describe the merged relationship between John and Ted. Ted 2 also focuses on the blur of identity which, if Ted loses the case, can prevent him from creating a family. But along with Lunar emotions of nurturing, the sequel also embraces the father and warrior archetypes: Ted, lacking true Martian procreative maleness, nevertheless becomes a fighter and pioneer for a cause that’s larger than himself.

The dynamic, Busby Berkeley-style number, over opening credits, features a snappy tuxedo’d song-and-dance Ted who, almost in spite of himself, winds up putting away the things of childhood and enters into what seems like a Saturnine maturity. Self-identity has a way of doing that. Except when there’s a Wizard-of-Oz like field of marijuana just waiting to be harvested.

Archetype: Fighter. Pioneer. Procreator.

Astrology Archetype: ☉☽ ♂ ♄ ♆ (Sun, Moon, Mars, Saturn, Neptune)

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