#REVIEW: “TED 2”
Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
In the summer of 2012, Seth MacFarlane introduced us to Ted, a foul-mouthed, stoner teddy bear. The idea sounded positively demented on paper, but ended up being outrageously hilarious from beginning to end. Three years later, and a year after striking-out with his Western sendup A Million Ways to Die in the West, MacFarlane is bringing Ted back for more.
Newlyweds Ted (MacFarlane) and Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) want to conceive, but are unable to do it through traditional methods (he is a teddy bear after all). When they file to adopt a child, they are denied on the basis of Ted being deemed property and not a person. So with the help of his best friend John (Mark Wahlberg) and new lawyer Samantha (Amanda Seyfried), Ted sets out to regain all of his civil rights.
While the premise of Ted 2 is radical and a bit heavy for a raunchy comedy, MacFarlane barely uses it. It strictly exists as a back drop to the antics Ted and John get into, which MacFarlane plays all too safe and familiar. He seems perfectly content on recycling old jokes and pop culture references, whether from the original Film or Family Guy, but barely repurposes or disguises any of them. Worse yet, any of the new material he does come up with starts off hilarious, before being used again and again – each time less funny than the last. The Film still manages to have some ridiculously hilarious moments layered throughout, but just as many feel sloppy and cobbled together. Does MacFarlane really think Family Guy-style gags work well in real life?
While the supporting turns and cameos range from enjoyable to just plain ugly, the Film belongs to MacFarlane and Wahlberg. MacFarlane’s impeccable voice work more than makes up for the script’s faults. He still sounds like Peter Griffin, but he gives his all into the performance and maintains his charisma and charm the entire time. Wahlberg goes a bit underused in some sections, but still manages to have a total blast as Ted’s best friend John. He understands the inherent lunacy of the story, embracing and committing to every aspect of it. There are some definite gross-out gags inflicted on his character, but Wahlberg never seems phased about any of it. He is just there to have fun. Seyfried is surprisingly game for anything that happens here, including a sustained and near annoying emphasis on pot smoking. I think MacFarlane could have used her better, but she outshines even the weakest material she is given.
I will readily admit that I nearly cried from laughing so hard during some scenes in Ted 2. But these scenes came very few and far between unfortunately, making for a comedy that straddles the line that is only moderately funny most of the time. The Lead Cast, especially MacFarlane, are a lot of fun to watch, but the spark that made the original Ted so wildly-entertaining is mostly missing here.
Universal Pictures Canada release TED 2 Friday, June 26, 2015.