Director: Seth MacFarlane
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried, Morgan Freeman, John Slattery
Release Date: June 26th, 2015
Three years ago, health writer/director Seth MacFarlane introduced audiences to a great bromance between a grown man named John (Mark Wahlberg) and his profanity-loving teddy bear (voiced by MacFarlane). Ted (2013) was MacFarlane’s first film as a writer/director and it was one of that summer’s nicest surprises. Its sequel Ted 2 as now arrived in theaters and although the premise has gotten a little tired, it still delivers more than its fair share of laughs.
Watching a marijuana-smoking bear survive in society is no longer as original as it once was so MacFarlane clearly has upped the ante here.
The film opens at Ted’s wedding to Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth), his love interest in the original film. His best friend John is recently divorced from his love interest in the original (who doesn’t even make an appearance here). After Ted’s happy marriage though, he faces his own marital issues.
In a surprisingly hard-to-watch scene, Ted and Tami-Lynn argue ferociously, leading to growing animosity between them. In a bid to save the marriage, the two opt to have a child together (good luck with that). Their attempts to have a child through a third party quickly fail. They settle on adoption only to discover that Ted is legally not a person, meaning that his marriage is a fraud and so too are his freedoms (the law dictates that Ted is actually property).
It takes the film about thirty minutes to arrive at this point but this is where the movie starts having more fun with its premise. Ted and John decide to legally fight for Ted to be declared a person, leading them to a young lawyer (Amanda Seyfried), who takes on the case.
The plot– such as it is– often becomes secondary to the comedy and many of the film’s set-ups exist solely to set up funny moments or witty one-liners. A few of the film’s most memorable moments— a scene involving Trix cereal, a visit to a field growing marijuana and Ted and John’s Law and Order commentary – seem unnecessary to the story but work as very funny bits in a film where some of the most outrageous comedy falls flat.
Although I laughed several times during the movie, MacFarlane’s comedy often comes across as a bit mean-spirited. A scene involving the antics of Guy (Patrick Warburton) and his boyfriend Rick (Michael Dorn) at the New York Comic-Con, for instance, merely involves showing them bullying youngsters there and taking pleasure in other people’s pain. It’s scenes like this and some of the most dramatic ones– like Ted’s fight with his new wife– that tonally misshape this otherwise decent comedy.
MacFarlane also misfires in bringing back Donny (Giovanni Ribisi), the villain from the original, who wants to kidnap Ted and replicate him for his corporate employer, Hasbro. Donny here seems like an unnecessary addition to the cast and only undermines the more interesting legal battle.
It’s hard to completely disregard Ted 2 because some of its comedy is laugh-out-loud funny and when MacFarlane hits his stride, the premise really works. The unfortunate part of it are the film’s more mean-spirited elements and the unnecessary and ultimately bland side plot. I can’t say that the movie is great. Nor can I say that I didn’t laugh.
What I can say is that Ted 2 pales in comparison to the original but that it’s still funny enough to recommend.
Review by: John Hanlon