Director: Seth MacFarlane
Starring: Mark Walhberg, Seth MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfield, Morgan Freeman, Jessica Barth, Giovanni Ribisi, Sam J. Jones
Written by: Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild and (also based on the characters created) Seth MacFarlane.
Running Time: 115 mins
Release date: 8th July 2015
They say familiarity breeds contempt. This is quite possibly the reason why Ted 2 doesn’t work as well as it’s hilarious 2012 surprise smash. Nothing much has changed. We still have the walking, talking, foul-mouthed, drug-taking teddy bear and his thunder buddy, John. It’s just the jokes don’t have that belly laugh effects any more. It is a case of “been there, done that”.
Ted and Tammi-Lynn are now married and struggling to keep the relationship alive. They decide to have a child but due to obvious reasons, it becomes impossible. They try for adoption yet this brings up a whole new set of problems. The state announces that Ted is not a person but an object. Desperate to prove them wrong, Ted, his buddy, John and newly qualified lawyer, Samantha Jackson, go on a journey for justice.
The thing that made Ted so funny, apart from a terrifically inventive script and a central idea of something so cuddly being so vulgar and adult, was that it also had plenty of heart. It was, predominantly, a story about friendship and the lengths you would go for that special friend. The same message is back again, only thing time it’s punctuated again and again and again, so the magic has wilted. The same with the idea of a swearing teddy. Funny for the first outing yet the joke runs thin on the second.
The plot, about civil rights, also seems to sit uncomfortably. There is a moment when Ted’s plight is compared to that of the slaves, which doesn’t feel right at all. This is also a major flaw. Where Seth MacFarlane’s character was so politically incorrect, this time that same level of offensiveness feels stale and most of the time, unfunny. Sure, there are moments when you find yourself laughing out loud and there are moments when you think to yourself “should I be finding this funny?”. Unfortunately, these are few and far between and the measure of misses to hits are greater.
Ted never really had a plot apart from the one involving creepy Donny. Well, even he’s back with another plan to make Ted his own. This sideline becomes more like an anti-product placement for a well-known toy company that, again, seems wrong. Even the return of Sam J. Jones (Flash Gordon) doesn’t have half the laughter factor as before.
The comedy patter between MacFarlane’s Ted and Mark Walhberg’s John is still there. This being Walhberg’s best film in a long time isn’t really saying much. The addition of Amanda Seyfried as Samantha, (replacing Mila Kunis, who was pregnant at the time), throws up some sometimes cruel jokes about her looking like Golam. The pop references are all in place, including a sequence at Comic Con that will have fanboys and geeks pointing out every single moment of recognition going (if you love Family Guy, you are going to have a field day from the parallels between this and that show). Yet it’s just not enough.
I loved Ted. I thought it was one of the best comedies this century and so watching Ted 2 just made be feel disappointed. Seth MacFarlane is, when on form, a funny guy. When it works, it’s funnier than most comedies out there. Sadly, the gags aren’t there anymore. The element of surprise isn’t there. The overall originality has gone and so has the fun. Still, on the bright side, it’s a whole lot funnier than A Million Ways To Die In The West but that’s not hard.
As a foot note, there is an extra scene right at the end of the credits which involves a strangely pointless gag with a surprise cameo. Stay if you want but it still doesn’t make much sense.