In yesterday’s review of Ted (which you can read here), we said that we enjoyed it, but it was plagued by a couple of one-dimensional characters and some pacing issues. Now, the sequel is out and has – as expected – taken over the world, making over $71 million domestically in little over two weeks. However, reviews on the whole have been less kind to Ted 2 than the previous entry. Today, we decide whether Seth MacFarlane’s Ted 2 is a worthy successor to the 2012 original.
Ted 2 catches up with best buddies John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) and Ted (Seth MacFarlane), several years after the first film. Ted is now married to Tammi-Lynn (Jessica Barth), but when Ted finds out that he is no longer legally considered a person, he has to enlist the help of lawyers Samantha Jackson (Amanda Seyfried) and Patrick Meighan (Morgan Freeman) to prove he is a person, while once again trying to flee from his crazed stalker Donny (Giovanni Ribisi).
In the first film, I thought that the plot felt disjointed, involving several sequences which strayed too far from the focus of the film, and was oddly paced, and unfortunately, lots of the same issues plague Ted 2. Unlike the brisker first entry, Ted 2 is clocks in at almost two hours, very long for a mainstream comedy film, and although some may argue ‘the more Ted the better’, this certainly isn’t the case. There were countless scenes included throughout the film that felt superfluous and had nothing to do with the story, including the first thirty minutes, which really have no impact on the plot, and a lengthy Comic-Con sequence which felt very unnecessary. The whole sub-plot involving the return of Ted’s stalker Donny and his employment at Hasbro (which is shamefully brought up far too many times) feels tacked on and adds nothing to the story; seemingly there just to pad the film out. Don’t get me wrong, some of those moments provide heart and a couple of laughs, but they add on a good twenty minutes to a film that is already stretching for material. In the end, the plot gets lost to make way for jokes, which is a shame because it was quite promising to begin with.
The first twenty or thirty minutes show the efforts John and Ted go to in order to help Ted become a father, and although uproariously funny at times (the entire sperm bank scene is unforgettable), aren’t really needed at all and only seem there as fodder for the trailer editors. Elements of the plot are either dragged on for too long or are not developed enough: for example, the scene where Ted, John and Sam stay in a barn overnight feels so unnecessary, taking a good fifteen minutes to shoddily introduce a plot element (and even including a song), whereas the blooming relationship between John and Samantha not only feels rushed, but also forced: Mark Wahlberg and Amanda Seyfried don’t have half the chemistry that he did with Mila Kunis. Her absence is most definitely felt here, and it’s a shame that Seyfried isn’t quite able to encapsulate what made Kunis’ character so great, although she definitely does try.
Luckily, the majority of the superb humour and writing from the original Ted has been retained for this sequel. The risky, sometimes too-offensive jokes are well-written and pack a punch, and luckily there are a lot less of the dreaded fart jokes that I loathe. The writing is arguably better here, with more character moments and better, more consistent, jokes, and although the film falls down at places due to its plot, always gave me something to chuckle at.
One of my favourite elements of Ted was the eponymous teddy himself: I loved his wit, his charm and his attitude, and although it is present in Ted 2, does get a little tiring. Don’t get me wrong, he is still as funny as ever, but after a while his antics became downright childish and forced, and to be honest I really don’t think a sequel was necessary, since it hits the same beats as the original, but not quite as well. Ted is still as arrogant as ever, still smokes pot all the time and still provides laughs, but it’s not as refreshing as it was in 2012. It is said that too much of a good thing results in a bad thing, and to be honest I believe this is the case here: Ted as a character is still funny, but I’m not interested in seeing his antics again, since they’re quite monotonous. Mark Walhberg’s John is solid: no better than the first but also no worse, but this time around he is given a little less to do, allowing his standout moments to really go down a treat. Seyfried’s Samantha is good, providing a couple of laughs and slotting in well with the other two, but as I said, her chemistry with John is practically non-existent. A few good cameos from Liam Neeson and Morgan Freeman provide a couple of laughs, but ultimately don’t add a lot to the film, perhaps just there to be slapped onto posters and trailers.
After recently re-watching Ted and loving it, I may have been expecting too much from Ted 2. It’s still a fun time with brilliant jokes, good characters and an interesting plot, and although in my opinion funnier and better-directed than the original, hits too many of the same plot beats as the 2012 film, but never does it quite as well. Ted is still as great a character as ever, and it speaks volumes that a teddy bear can sell so many tickets, but his antics are beginning to wear thin. I recommend giving Ted 2 a watch if you enjoyed the first one, but don’t expect it to be anything other than a fun – but slightly forgettable – comedy romp.
I give Ted 2 7 out of 10.