Director: Seth MacFarlane
Cast: Seth MacFarlane, Mark Wahlberg, Amanda Seyfried, Jessica Barth, Giovanni Ribisi
Plot: When trying to adopt, Ted (MacFarlane) realises that he doesn’t officially count as a real person and his civil rights begin getting taken away.
Ah, the dreaded comedy sequel. It seems so bizarre that it is such a tricky breed of cinema to get right. After all, how hard can it be to make someone laugh? Simply reintroduce the same amusing characters as last time and rinse, repeat. Of course, you have to try your hand at something new to make the movie feel worthwhile, but on the whole, we all know what we came for. Yet somehow sequels are rarely better than the original comedy, the writers and producers seemingly unsure as to what that magic spark that created the sensation around their film actually entailed. Thankfully, Ted 2 doesn’t make the same mistakes.
In fact, Ted 2 both succeeds and suffers from a case of ‘it does exactly what it says on the tin’. After the hit-and-mainly-miss MacFarlane vehicle, A Million Ways To Die in the West, we were all a little unsure if Ted 2 was the best move or not. However, as the movie unfolds, you wonder why there was any doubt in the first place. MacFarlane’s humour has an infectious quality about it that makes any scenario thrown into the mix, easy to get along with. Every scene is bound to have you rolling on the floor laughing, because it just has that Family Guy-esque sense of humour. I thought that the shock value of MacFarlane’s material would have diluted by now, the gross out comedy and ‘you-can’t-say-that’ remarks not working as well as they did, when we weren’t expecting them. Yet MacFarlane is very good at masking his punch-lines, until the moment he reveals them. It also helps that his ‘non-racist or gross’ jokes work just as well. A running gag where the upper class lawyers hide their free sweets from John is just as funny as the crass jokes in the sperm donor centre. It all works. Occasionally, there would be an awkward joke that didn’t quite hit the mark, usually when a scene is ending. With MacFarlane’s cartoon, a flat deadpan statement could be the perfect way to slide into the next segment of the show, but he tries the same delivery a few times with Ted 2 and it didn’t seem to work. The jokes were still mildly amusing, but the timing felt a little off, almost as though the pacing could have been smoother. However, on the whole, I couldn’t complain about the humour. MacFarlane understands that sometimes you need to break away from the plot to have the funniest Liam Neeson cameo in cinematic history.
Somehow Mark Wahlberg remains the best thing about Ted. There is just something about MacFarlane’s material that awakens the actor, breathing new life into him. Maybe there is something appealing about a respected actor willing to make jokes about his pornographic internet search history that makes you wonder how many other established performers could have put up with the part. Wahlberg just gets the tone that is needed here, which is why MacFarlane feels confident to throw him into a scene with an animated teddy bear and no one worries that it will look out of place. It is a credit to Wahlberg and MacFarlane’s directional abilities that Ted and John Bennett hit every chord when it comes to their on-screen chemistry. In fact, you begin to worry about newcomer Amanda Seyfried. She is meant to be replacing Mila Kunis, the Family Guy starlet, and also her scenes require her to be more interactive with the two leads. While Mila Kunis’s character could keep distant from the antics of the main duo and therefore find her own grounding as a character, Amanda needs to get onto their wave-length, one already established in the last movie, and try not to look like she is joining in, rather than moving the comedy along. Thankfully, the performance and character works, helped along by a few well-timed self-depreciating run of gags (Amanda Seyfried isn’t scared to join in on the ‘you have massive eyes’ bandwagon). As a whole, the leading three are great to be around, which makes the supporting cast’s job of chipping in with the occasional side-joke, including the finales of all finales in Comic-Con, much easier to do.
Final Verdict: Ted 2 is more of the same, but that’s a good thing in my books.