By Steve Stebbing
As an episodic comedy writer, Seth MacFarlane is a proven success. Family Guy has successfully run for well over a decade and American Dad has been a long running series as well. Heck, the guy even got to host the Oscars a couple years back. So, it was more than obvious that eventually MacFarlane would make the leap to the big screen, which he did in 2012. Ted is a film about a teddy bear that comes to life after a little boy makes a wish and then grows up with him to be a weed smoking, beer drinking asshole. That’s pretty much the story in a nutshell.
We’ll now Ted (voiced by MacFarlane) and his “Thunder buddy” John (Mark Wahlberg) are back for this sequel. Mila Kunis, Wahlberg’s love interest in the first film, has been written out, leaving John as a sad sack single guy. Ted, on the other hand, is married and looking to have a child with his new wife. After exhausting all other avenues – including a failed attempt to steal Tom Brady’s sperm – Ted looks to adopt a child.
The conflict of the film arises here as the state of Massachusetts doesn’t see Ted as a person but instead as property because… Well, he’s a toy. John and Ted end up hiring a young junior attorney Samantha Jackson, a weed smoking, pop culture devoid love interest for Wahlberg played by Amanda Seyfried. Many jokes are played on the fact that apparently Samantha doesn’t watch movies or TV or read anything at all.
I’m going to get this out of the way. I did not enjoy the first Ted film. It had a completely basic plot with the only draw being the side jokes or ad-libbed lines, relying on throwaway gags and cameos to really deliver the laughs. The direction of the film was awful, MacFarlane using the same pedigree as Family Guy to structure his film. We get full on musical sequences, cut away jokes and montages that go nowhere, add nothing to the story and drag on way too long.
Does Ted 2 improve on this even a little? No. Not one bit. It is exactly the same pace, pushing one of the musical scenes into a lavish but bloated title sequence. All of the “heartfelt” dialogue is one brutal cliché after another and, although everyone seems to be having a great time in the film, it all feels horribly regurgitated like reused Family Guy jokes. Again, the only enjoyable pieces of the film are anything that happen outside of the plot and, again, relying on those favors that Seth called in for cameos. In my opinion, Entourage did those better.
I don’t want to think that I’m joyless, too old or just being a complete grump is the contributing factor to me not finding these films funny. I just believe that Seth MacFarlane’s joke by joke approach doesn’t lend itself at all to movies. The movie felt too long as a result and clocking in at just under two hours I don’t think I’m the only one who feels that. This movie was born from the fact that the first film made a lot of money. My only hope is that I won’t be subjected to a Ted 3. I give this one a one and a half out of five.