Ted 2 Review

by Steve Pulaski

A handful of names in show business divide people so strongly and Seth MacFarlane is one of them. His pop culture references, his often scatological and vulgar humor, and the simultaneous repetition and aimlessness in his stories have made him the subject of a great deal of hate. Since I began watching Family Guy at a young age, I’ve always admired MacFarlane’s ability to turn nothing into something, taking the most ridiculous and baseless ideas for plots and balancing the right amount of out-of-place jokes, in Family Guy‘s case, cutaway gags, with some coherent sense of plot progression. Love him or hate him, that kind of ability isn’t seen often because it’s a difficult thing to pull off.

MacFarlane’s films are a different breed, however; they are much longer than a twenty-two minute episode, and with each one just hairs away from the two hour mark, it’s understandable to see why many tire of his schtick and view his films as endurance tests. What can work in twenty-two minutes doesn’t necessarily pan out to a successful two hour venture. MacFarlane’s directorial debut in film was Ted, a film that struck lightning in a bottle, combining the strong tendencies of MacFarlane incorporating chemistry, ribald humor, and romance all in one film, sort of adhering to the likes of contemporaries like Judd Apatow. It was an uproariously funny film; one that shows the strengths of MacFarlane’s zaniness and Mark Wahlberg’s talent in comedy.

With Ted becoming the highest-grossing R-rated comedy, a franchise was immediately born, and Ted 2 is a film that is obviously birthed from extreme financial success. MacFarlane likely had little to no inkling that this character would go on to sustain another film, so the very fact that he penned another adventure for his foul-mouthed bear character is quite the feat. The issue, however, is that while the first film held ground as consistently funny, Ted 2 is more infrequently funny, concerned with loud comedic sight-gags and gross-out events instead of focusing on the chemistry.

Ted 2
Directed by
Seth MacFarlane
Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried
Release Date
26 June 2015
Steve’s Grade: C+

We refocus on John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) and his talking stuffed teddy bear Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane), this time, watching Ted and his longtime girlfriend Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) marry one another before all their friends. John is broken up over his recent divorce with Lori, and Ted’s persistent encouragement of him to stop watching and meticulously organizing his porn and get back out in the dating game doesn’t seem to work.

Upon revealing to Tami-Lynn that he wants to have a baby, Ted discovers from the state of Massachusetts that he is not a legal citizen because he is property, not an actual person. As a result, Ted is fired from his job, his marriage is annulled, and he feels like a subhuman no matter where he goes. In efforts to fight back, John and Ted hire Sam Jackson (Amanda Seyfried), a young lawyer about to embark on her first case to grant Ted his civil rights.

Ted 2, similar to Ted, is overstuffed with content, jokes, characters, and situational humor, so much so that the film seems like an overstuffed teddy bear, at any point ready to burst at its seems from the weight and pressure of all its contents. Much like its predecessor, Ted 2 is at its funniest when John and Ted are simply slumming on the couch, exchanging insults, playing pranks on one another, or sharing a heart-to-heart. Consider the scene where Sam speaks to a civil rights attorney (Morgan Freeman) on the phone whilst John and Ted fight over the last Bud Light in the fridge.

Scenes like that are glimmers of humor in a film that occasionally finds itself too obsessed with overblown scenes, like the fairly obvious one at a sperm bank or the ridiculous and ostensibly neverending chase sequence at Comic-Con. One of the film’s subplots, which revolves around the janitor for Hasbro attempting to steal Ted so he can figure out how to make hundreds of talking bears like him, is incredibly anticlimactic when it arrives at its conclusion, and the film is littered with stunt casting the likes of Liam Neeson, Tom Brady, Dennis Haysbert, and Morgan Freeman that it’s a wonder if the film is confident in its main characters to sustain a film. Finally, the absence of Mila Kunis in the film isn’t a total loss, for Seyfried comes with just enough personality to sustain the supporting role. Save for some strangely placed scenes, like her song as she, John, and Ted sit in a marijuana farm, and Seyfried is actually a pleasant addition to the film.

Ted 2 has some hilarious one-liners, but the chemistry between John and Ted is the real reason for seeing the film. There is an undeniable aura of positivity throughout this whole film, one that MacFarlane predicates on top of engulfing the film with loud performances and constant efforts to make the audience laugh. With all the jokes and antics that occur in this film, it’s only expected many miss, and MacFarlane proves that even if he isn’t on stage, he’s still breaking a sweat with all that he does in his projects.