TED 2 Review (USA/16/115mins)
Directed by Seth MacFarlane. Starring Seth MacFarlane, Mark Wahlberg, Amanda Seyfried, Sam Jones, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Tom Brady.
THE PLOT: After Ted (Seth MacFarlane) marries the beautiful but ditzy Tami-Lyn (Jessica Barth), it only takes one short year for the two to start having troubles. Convinced that a baby would solve their problems, the two start chasing down possible sperm donations or adoption, unaware that they are drawing Ted to the State’s attention. When Ted is deemed to not be an actual person, Ted, John (Mark Wahlberg) and their lawyer Samantha (Amanda Seyfried) team up to fight for Ted’s recognition and human rights.

THE VERDICT: TED, released in 2012, was a surprise hit, and surprisingly funny, even though the jokes, the swearing and the novelty had just about worn off by the end of the film. This week, Ted is back with a sequel, and although there are a couple of giggles in there, this is not the film to put the shine back on this foul mouthed talking teddy bear.

Seth MacFarlane and Mark Wahlberg reprise their roles as Ted and his best friend John, respectively. They still talk in over the top Boston accents, get high and try to offend as many people as possible, so nothing has changed there. Jessica Barth returns in an expanded role as Tami-Lyn, although she is never given a chance to round out her character. Amanda Seyfried does fairly well as stoner lawyer Samantha, making the character sweet and fun, with a serious side. Cameos abound in the film, with Patrick Stewart, Morgan Freeman, Sam J. Jones, Tom Brady, Liam Neeson and John Slattery all turning up at some point.

Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild’s screenplay has some funny moments – Amanda Seyfried finally addresses the fact that she has eyes of similar size to Gollum – but the laughs are few and far between. Although there is a story here that has merit, it is almost totally ignored for whole sections of the film, for more gags and silly situations to be forced in. In fact there are times when the entire film seems to be made up of vignettes and stand alone scenes, rather than allowing these to form a cohesive film. As well as this, the villain turns out to be the one from Ted, with almost the exact same motivations and resolution as the first film.

As director, it is clear that Seth MacFarlane is trying to hark back to the Golden Age of Classical Hollywood cinema with TED 2 – think the musicals of Gene Kelly and the comedies of Marilyn Monroe – but with a lot more swearing. This works at times, but since the film feels like gags stuck together with a story, this never quite works. The performances are fine, but the direction and actors are hampered by a script that never really allows them to play a character, only a caricature.

In all, there are a couple of giggles in TED 2, and it is clear that MacFarlane is trying to hark back to the classical age of Hollywood cinema, but the joke is over, the novelty has worn off and the whole thing feels a little familiar. Fans will love it but there is very little here for the non-fan. Oh, and the post-credits scene is not really worth the wait.

Rating: 2/5
Review by Brogen Hayes

Ted 2
Review by Brogen Hayes
2.0For fans only
  • filmbuff2011

    2012’s Ted was a surprise hit – due to it being a very funny and irreverent fairytale of sorts for adults. It mined the talents of Seth MacFarlane, who up to that point was only known for animated TV series Family Guy. Since then, MacFarlane has had mixed fortunes in Hollywood, with an underwhelming turn as an Oscars host and the mediocre Blazing Saddles-wannabe A Million Ways To Die In The West. He’s mostly back on form with Ted 2. Now single after a divorce with Lori (Mila Kunis wasn’t able to return due to her pregnancy), John (Mark Wahlberg) has avoided the dating scene. His best buddy and talking teddy bear Ted (voiced by MacFarlane), on the other hand, is living in wedded bliss with Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth). Or at least for the first few minutes of the film. A year later and they’re shouting at each other in the kitchen about petty things. With that marriage on the rocks, a work colleague suggests that Ted and Tami-Lynn should have a baby to give them a real reason to stay together. Ted asks John to be a surrogate, but that doesn’t go so well and leaves John in a very sticky situation (literally). When Ted and Tami-Lynn go down the adoption route, this raises red flags with the Boston authorities, who up to this point have let Ted slip under the radar. Is Ted a person entitled to human rights… or is he just a teddy bear that should be regarded as property? Novice lawyer and pop culture illiterate Samantha (Amanda Seyfried) takes on Ted’s case. But the case also raises the attention of obsessive Donny (Giovanni Ribisi) who won’t let Ted go this time around… It’s the second time round and most of the novelty factor around Ted himself has worn off. The idea of a foul-mouthed, pot-loving, skirt-chasing teddy bear isn’t as effective now. MacFarlane was surely aware of this, so he’s decided to develop Ted’s character more, to the point where audiences could accept him as a guy you could have a beer with, rather than just a talking teddy bear for novelty value. However, the plot mechanics of Ted’s status in the world don’t entirely work. Courtroom scenes are kept to a minimum, so we never really get the sense of there being a definitve, authentic outcome. It just feels a little under-cooked and lacking conviction. Instead, the story digresses into fields of pot, silly diner encounters and a trip to the New York Comic-Con. The latter is great fun though, packed with enough sight gags and blink-and-you’ll-miss-’em pop culture references that it will take repeat viewings to catch them all. Bonus points to MacFarlane for that. There’s also a hilarious cameo by Liam Neeson early on, touching on his Taken character. Morgan Freeman is largely wasted in a thankless role, but Wahlberg and Seyfried have good onscreen chemistry. MacFarlane’s script is razor sharp and is often very funny, even right up to the closing shot. Inevitably, it’s not as good as the original but there’s still enough of the good stuff here to make it worthwhile. A third adventure with Ted would be stretching it at this stage. Stay for the end credits for a brief extra scene. ***

  • emerb

    “Ted 2” is a smart, witty but admittedly very vulgar comedy once again directed and co-written by Seth MacFarlane, who also provides the voice of the animated stuffed animal. Like its smash hit predecessor, it follows the adventures of a profane, foul-mouthed, pot-smoking teddy bear. Don’t let the title fool you, this
    is no magical kids movie and it’s not for the faint hearted nor the easily offended!

    The story begins years after the first movie ended and opens with an elaborate and splashy but very charming musical dance feature where Ted and a chorus line of Busby Berkeley–style dancers tap away to Irving Berlin’s “Steppin’ Out With My Baby.” The smutty bear is dressed in his wedding tux and bounces along over a row of top-hatted dancers atop a giant wedding cake. He is getting hitched to his brassy, sexy grocery store co-worker Tami-Lynn (the terrific Jessica
    Barth) and his lifelong “thunder buddy” John (the returning Mark Wahlberg) cheers them on. We soon learn that John’s marriage to Lori (Mila Kunis, sadly absent from this movie) has ended, and a few months later, there is also trouble in paradise with Ted’s marriage too. In a desperate attempt to restore harmony and save the relationship, they decide that having a baby will solve their problems. However, that’s not an easy proposition since he doesn’t exactly have the physical attributes to get his wife pregnant. It then turns out that Tami-Lynn is infertile anyway so the couple decides to adopt a child. However, Ted’s erectile dysfunction proves not be the only problem as their adoption plan leads to legal issues. The authorities decide that Ted isn’t a human being but “property” and as such, he cannot be a parent. Ted finds himself stripped of his identity, his job and his marriage certificate. Leading his defence case is an eager, young, wide-eyed
    cannabis-friendly lawyer, Samantha L. Jackson (Amanda Seyfried), a recent
    law-school grad. The ensuing court battle, in which Samantha is pitted against an unbeaten hotshot attorney (John Slattery), ends badly, leading to a road trip to New York City, where the three hope to convince the country’s leading civil rights lawyer (Morgan Freeman) to handle the appeal. There is also a subplot borrowed from the original, involving the creepy stalker Donny (Giovanni Ribisi) who once again attempts to get his hands on Ted. Now working as a janitor for Hasbro, Donny persuades his boss (John Carroll Lynch) that if they can cut Ted open to see what makes him tick, they’ll make millions selling similar bears.

    “Ted 2” might not be perfect but it is certainly very very funny – trashy, bolshy, rude, bold, shocking, gross….but priceless. If you’re in the right frame of mind and don’t mind 2 hours of sexism, rampant pot smoking, racist jibes and profane language, you need look no further this Summer. I loved the slew of celebrity cameos, all of whom are happy to make fun of themselves including, returning guest star Sam Jones of Flash Gordon fame, Liam Neeson and the above mentioned Morgan Freeman. The bromance between John and Ted is central to the film and the chemistry between them is superb. There is no doubting the director’s voice talent, he expertly delivers a string of hilarious one-liners, rapid-cut sight gags, pop-culture in-jokes and visual puns. Wahlberg takes on his
    role with energy and enthusiasm and happily makes fun of himself. The love interest slot is competently filled by Amanda Seyfried who brings a welcome
    degree of warmth and sweetness to the film which counterbalances the non-stop
    vulgarity and crudity. The timing of the release is clever, I can see it doing very well amongst summer audiences looking for some light hearted cheer and revenues should more than compensate Universal Pictures for the lack lustre performance of last year’s comic Western from MacFarlane – “A Million Ways to Die In the West”. Not everybody will enjoy “Ted2”, I was a big fan but whether you will like it depends on your tolerance for this particular type of bawdy, vulgar humour and your willingness to spend a few hours in the company of a shockingly foul-mouthed, humanized teddy bear.