Ryan Pollard finds little to enjoy in Ted 2 as Seth MacFarlane goes through the motions with his CGI teddy bear. The odd funny moment can’t save this one from mediocrity.
Ted 2 is the sequel to the financially successful 2012 film (the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time apparently) about a teddy bear magically brought to life by a little boy’s wish and the repercussions of what happens when that little boy John grows up. This sequel sees Ted finally marrying his girlfriend Tami-Lynn, yet following growing problems in their marriage, they soon decide to adopt a baby. However, Ted is officially classified as property instead of a person, and soon the animate children’s toy teams up once again with his thunder-buddy John to solve the issue.
The first film was a flawed yet hugely entertaining ride; the premise alone proving to be uniquely energising. Here, however, with Ted attempting to be recognised as an actual person, it doesn’t engage half as well, wasting a lot of potential. To the film’s credit, it does try to give us emotional scenes just like the first movie, but here that emotional core is quickly pushed aside in favour of vulgar toilet humour, which is hilarious… if you’re a 12-year-old. That’s not to say that the movie isn’t completely devoid of laughter as there are the odd chuckles here and there, which pales in comparison to the laugh-quality in the first movie. On top of that, it was made obvious as to why the jokes weren’t funny: they were clearly lifted straight from Seth Macfarlane’s animated series Family Guy, and as a result, left me completely stony-faced. To make matters worse, entire plot elements were lifted from the first film: Giovanni Ribsi returns as the Ted-obsessed Donny, and once again is on a mission to kidnap the bear. This culminates in a standoff, which is pretty much the exact same as the end of the first film.
Mark Wahlberg gives a decent performance reprising his role as John, and manages to make his interactions with a CGI bear all the more believable, but notable by her absence here is Mila Kunis, who was unable to reprise her role as Lori due to pregnancy. The writers way around this: she and John split up, and he’s now a one-dimensional goofball who’s just there to make jokes and get high with Ted! That’s right, making the entirety of John’s journey in the first film completely pointless. Filling in Kunis’ shoes is Amanda Seyfried, who worked with Macfarlane on the poorly-received A Million Ways to Die in the West; her character of Sam is likeable enough and she does seem a good fit for Wahlberg’s character as a romantic interest, but just like John, she’s given very little of a personality. When she’s not being a lawyer, she’s joking around and getting high with the guys, and that’s it. The writers seem to have realised this and tried to give her some characterisation later on when in one scene, entirely out of nowhere, she brings out a guitar and sings a song.
The New York Comic-Con based finale offers some more cameos and fun in-jokes, but just like the rest of the movie, it feels very flat. One thing that still holds up really well is the CGI with Ted himself looking very photo-realistic and I found it easier to believe that a teddy bear was alive and interacting with other actors. The one thing that was very obvious with this movie though was that it was a sequel and it really felt like one. You get the sense that everyone involved in the production was just going through the motions as opposed to the new experience of the first movie.
In the end, if you loved the first movie, there’s a lot of shock humour here that will probably leave you laughing, but for me, it was just completely bland and witless, and its uninteresting plotlines and recycled jokes just left me bored in most places. Since the first film, Seth Macfarlane hosted the 2013 Oscars in which he was toe-curlingly awful, so much so that the two Oscar hosts since then (Ellen DeGeneres and Neil Patrick Harris) have been notable in their praise for not being Seth Macfarlane. Ted 2 just demonstrates that, like A Million Way to Die in the West, he’s now just not as funny as he thinks he is. Maybe this is just one of those movies that’s probably benefited for repeat viewing… that is if I’m stoned or completely out of it seeing as though that’ll be the only way for me to find the whole thing enjoyable or as hilarious as the first film.