Saturday, 20 February 2016

Ted 2

In 2012, Seth MacFarlane – the man behind Family Guy and American Dad – introduced us to Ted in his directorial debut, and first time working with live-action. The tale of a hard-drinking, drug-abusing and foul-mouthed teddy bear was a huge success, grossing over $500 million against a $50 budget. Audiences loved it, and surprisingly, so did critics. A sequel was promised, but before that, MacFarlane gave us A Million Ways to Die in the West. The comedy Western didn’t go down quite as well as Ted, but the promised sequel continued production. Finally, Ted 2 arrived. Did it meet expectations?

Out now on DVD & Blu-Ray, Ted 2 begins with Ted’s marriage to Tami-Lynn – his girlfriend from the first film. As their relationship sours shortly after, they decide to have a baby – but in order to qualify to be a parent, Ted has to prove he’s a ‘person’ in a court of law. So, with the help of his dear friend John (Mark Wahlberg) and up-and-coming young lawyer Samantha (Amanda Seyfried), Ted will do whatever it takes to earn the respect and rights he feels he deserves. Funnily enough there are some powerful messages in the film, hidden under the dick jokes and drug use. There are references to slavery and human rights issues in the past that, funnily enough, are sometimes presented straight and without humour. You can tell Seth MacFarlane has something to say with this film, in his own way. The film is packed with famous faces, from a completely straight-faced performance from Morgan Freeman who seems to think he’s in a far more serious and intelligent film, to a great cameo from Liam Neeson, and the funniest thing Jay Leno has ever done. Patrick Stewart also returns to briefly narrate the tale, while Mila Kunis is noticeably absent due to being pregnant at the time of filming – this absence is written into the plot, though.

Ted 2 does everything a comedy sequel should – it’s bigger, it progresses the story and, if you liked the first film, it’ll make you laugh. I’ve seen so many people reviewing Ted 2 and saying how much they “hated the first one” and how “disgusting” the humour is. Well then, you’re quite clearly not the target audience for this sequel! I feel like it’s too obvious to say but judging by these other reviews I’ve read, I’ll have to - it’s the same inappropriate and offensive humour that the first film delivered in spades, so if you didn’t like that then you won’t like this. It’s quite simple. At the end of the day, it’s a film about a talking teddy bear who smokes pot, drinks beer and is convinced the ‘F’ in ‘F. Scott Fitzgerald’ stands for ‘Fuck’. It’s not high-brow entertainment, nor is it trying to be. It’s just a daft 2 hours of escapism. And there are some really funny things in Ted 2. I wasn’t expecting to laugh out loud, and I’m not ashamed to say I did.

There are some issues. Like most comedies of today, it is – if you’ll pardon the pun – overstuffed. It’s far too long for a comedy about a talking teddy bear, clocking in just shy of 2 hours. It feels like several films in one – the courtroom stuff make it feel like a courtroom movie, but there’s also some road movie thrown in and a general buddy movie feel. Most of the jokes land and the pacing means this hybridising of genres isn’t too much of an issue, but some things felt unnecessary. For example, returning villain Donny (Giovanni Ribisi) brings back the main flaw of the first film – the out-of-place tension in the final act. It just feels like it’s come out of a different film. But who cares? Even at its worst, Ted 2 isn’t unwatchable.

Ted 2 isn’t better nor worse than Ted, it’s just more of the same – but not in a bad way. It’s just a continuation of the story. I won’t deny it, it made me laugh and I had a fun, easy evening with it. After a stressful day, I lay on the sofa in my pyjamas and switched my brain off for a couple of hours. Sometimes that’s what you need. Not much plot and certainly no depth. But when all is said and done, it boils down to this. Did you like Ted? If the answer is yes, you’ll like Ted 2. If the answer is no, you won’t.

Ted 2 is an entertaining sequel and despite some shortcomings, earns a solid 3/5.


 Sam Love 

Ted 2 at CeX

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