Ted 2: Film Review
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried, Jessica Barth, Morgan Freeman, Giovanni Ribisi
Director: Seth MacFarlane
The amount of enjoyment you get from the longer, less charming sequel to Ted will be directly proportional to how high your tolerance for having your buttons pressed is.
The sequel, which circles around the idea of civil rights, centres on the idea that Mr Ted Goes To Court after the state of Massachusetts strips him of his rights in the wake of him trying to adopt a child, declaring him not to be a person but actually property.
Calling in an inexperienced but pot-smoking lawyer (played with ease and earnest warmth by Amanda Seyfried) Samantha, John (a once again game and comic Wahlberg) along with Ted set out to try and recruit a top lawyer (Freeman) to their cause.
The sequel to the most successful R-rated comedy was only ever going to go further down the depravity drain and mine its vulgar excesses as far as it could go - and it's fair to say that on that journey, the mischievous MacFarlane fires off his scatological gun, taking aim at just about everybody and trying to push the envelope for edgy humour, with varying degrees of success.
Packing in celebrity cameos, a raft of crass one-liners that amuse and a sub-plot from the first film involving Hasbro and Donny (Ribisi), Ted 2 unfortunately feels in parts un-bear-able and bloa-ted.
Legal scenes pack the proceedings and try to inject a degree of seriousness where it's not welcome -though an expeditious edit of the script could have resolved some of those problems. Equally, a Comic-Con final sequence seems unnecessarily shoe-horned in and appears to really only be a chance to give Patrick Warburton and Michael Dorn a visual gag that's serviced to the pop-culture savvy.
But, it has to be argued that the bromance and banter between John and Ted (such a warm and earnest heart that it had in the first film) suffers the most in this sequel. The scenes where the pair bicker, harmonise over Law and Order's opening titles and generally bond with their puerile arrested adult humour are among the funniest and sweetest of the sequel, a reminder of what's missing from this and why the first film worked so well.
However, it's MacFarlane's edgy comedic sensibilities which punctuate the lower moments of Ted 2, giving you a feeling that you're not sure what's coming next in some of the shoe-horned in non-sequitur moments within. A Lord of the Rings gag about Amanda Seyfried's eyes is perfectly on the money, and a sequence where Ted and John yell out sad suggestions at an improv night is remarkably close to the bone, but brings some shocking laughs.
Overlong, about as stuffed as Ted's insides, Ted 2 proves to be a mixed affair; it's a story with bolted on bits of randomness which work better than the main plot. It's true the Family Guy puerile sensibilities soak through into this sequel, but it's not nearly enough to propel it through its near 2 hour run time, but side-lining the main reason the first film worked so well proves to be the fatal flaw.