What, or should I say who, is cute and cuddly with a mouth like a sewer? Ted of course.
In a bid to save his marriage Ted decides it’s time for a baby unaware of the drama that’s to follow.A year after tying the knot to girlfriend Tami-Lynn, Ted soon finds that there is trouble in paradise. Believing that a baby will solve their marital problems, Ted and Tami-Lynn set out to start a family. However, what with Ted being a magical toy bear, having a baby is not as simple as it seems. Seth MacFarlane returns to the big screen with his third feature film, Ted 2 which follows on from Ted released back in 2012.MacFarlane is probably best known for creating Family Guy, American Dad! and The Cleveland Show. Along with Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild (who also work on the aforementioned titles) MacFalane co-wrote and directed Ted 2 as well as providing the voice for the main character, Ted, which is no big feat considering he also provides the voices for many of the characters in Family Guy and American Dad!.
Ted 2 begins with the wedding of Ted and Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth), which of course is introduced to us by none other than Patrick Stewart. The obvious choice of best man is John (Mark Wahlberg), Ted’s best friend, who is now divorced from Lori (Mila Kunis) after having worked so hard to win back her affection in Ted. Flash forward to a year later and Ted and Tami-Lynn aren’t the happily married couple they started out as. Convinced that a baby will be the band-aid to repair their marriage, Ted and John set out to find the perfect sperm donor as Ted is somewhat lacking in that department.
Of course this is not as easy as it seems as they have quite specific requirements they want to fulfil. After several failed attempts at acquiring said sperm, Ted moves to plan B, adoption. It’s here that the rest of the film's story line really takes off. Not deemed an actual person by the government, Ted must go to great lengths to prove that he should be seen as a person rather than a possession. Ted and John seek legal help from Samantha L. Jackson (Amanda Seyfried), a young pot smoking lawyer who’s first case will be to prove that a plush toy should be seen as a person with the same civil rights as every other human being.
Ted focused on John, his relationship with Lori and how he needed to start acting his age and essentially grow up and settle down. Not appearing to have grown up at all, John is still the laid back, pot smoking childish character he was in the first film, only this time he is single and being spurred on by his wing-bear, Ted. Left disheartened about love after his divorce from Lori, John doesn’t want to waste his time on fleeting relationships despite encouragement from Ted, but soon discovers all is not lost when they meet Samantha - who provides the love interest this time.
Wahlberg’s performance as the man-child John is on a parr with his previous performance but instead of growing up at all he seems to have stalled, and maybe even regressed to a teenage stoner who doesn’t do much apart from hang out with his best friend in front of the TV. The two women in Ted 2, Seyfried and Barth (along with Giovanni Ribisi), are probably the stand out features; Seyfried plays the part of Samantha the lawyer with the kind of gusto you would expect from an actual recent graduate. Her high hopes and big expectations are believable and make for a sweet and likeable character. Seyfried really shines during a campfire sing song where she sings ‘Mean ‘Ol Moon’ which was written by MacFarlane.
Ted 2 tries to hit all the right notes, but manages to miss the majority of them.
Barth gets more screen time in Ted 2 and despite all the make up, chewing gum and big hair, she manages to play the part of a ‘traditional’ Boston girl well. Giovanni Ribisi returns as the slightly deranged Donny, hellbent on seeking revenge against Ted. Ribisi is, in my opinion, definitely an underrated actor, he is perfect for playing the slightly odd and outcast character which he manages to do expertly in Ted 2, packing some comedic elements in too. Other characters from Ted such as Sam Jones and Patrick Warburton make a comeback along with several cameos from other well known faces — which in all honesty seemed quite pointless and in most cases irrelevant to the progression of the story line and almost feel like a small check list of people MacFarlane wanted to include.
While Ted 2 appears to be a comedy on the surface there are some other more serious issues woven into the story, which haven’t necessarily been done very well. The scene in which Tami-Lynn discusses her fertility with a doctor feels almost too extreme to be funny and just didn’t sit right with the rest of the film's humour. While MacFarlane is no stranger to pushing the boundaries when it comes to comedy, it's usually done in a much more subtle and discreet manner which aids in its comedy value. During the court case in which Ted is trying to prove he is a person, his plight is not only compared to that of the slaves but also to the discrimination against homosexuals. While in a way this does highlight certain issues which need to be recognised it does feel a little bit too contrived. The humour used in Ted 2 is definitely something of an acquired taste, with most of the jokes resorting to profuse swearing in order to get the laughs. Having said that, the funniest moment of the film is probably where the three main characters visit a comedy club, even though it's somewhat distasteful this scene was rather amusing.
Technically Ted 2 doesn’t offer up anything amazing aside from the obvious character of Ted. Resorting to a lot of over head shots of highways and the outsides of buildings there is a lot of filler in Ted 2 which doesn’t actually showcase any locations of the film. One of the redeeming factors is the opening sequence, which feels like a scene from a musical like Singin’ in the Rain, this was thoroughly enjoyable to watch however the rest of the film makes that sequence feel like a distant memory. The other redeeming factor were the numerous film references MacFarlane includes in Ted 2, from Raging Bull to The Breakfast Club to Trains, Planes and Automobiles and Jurassic Park, clearly showcasing MacFarlane’s love of film.
Unfortunately Ted 2 fails to live up to it’s predecessor with the humour lacking and at times feeling like a big build up to nothing, although it’s easy to watch and one way to pass an afternoon. If you enjoyed the first Ted film you'll probably also enjoy this one, however it pails in comparison to MacFarlane’s other comedic accolades.
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.