Booze-soaked, synthetic cotton lives matter. Academy Award nominees Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman and Amanda Seyfried star in Ted 2.
Cast of Characters:
John Bennett – Mark Wahlberg
Ted – Seth MacFarlane
Samantha Leslie Jackson – Amanda Seyfried
Donny – Giovanni Ribisi
Tami-Lynn McCafferty – Jessica Barth
Shep Wild – John Slattery
Patrick Meighan – Morgan Freeman
Director – Seth MacFarlane
Screenplay – Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin & Wellesley Wild
Producer – Scott Stuber, Seth MacFarlane, John Jacobs & Jason Clark
Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use
Following the events of Ted, John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) is six-months divorced from Lori and Ted (Seth MacFarlane) has finally married his girlfriend Tami-Lynn McCafferty (Jessica Barth). However, after a year of marriage, things aren’t so blissful in the Ted/Tami-Lynn household. In an effort to save their marriage, the two decide to have a baby, and since Ted is incapable of reproducing ’cause – well, do I really have to explain why – they ask John to be a donor for them. All goes well for John, but his donation is essentially worthless when it’s learned that Tami-Lynn is infertile.
It’s for the best. As high as John gets all the time, that kid would be ten extra chromosomes worth of retarded.
But as bad as it currently seems, the worst is yet to come for Ted while trying the adoption route, which draws the attention of the state who deem Ted to be property and not a person. This results in Ted losing his job, financial accounts and having his marriage to Tami-Lynn annulled. Looking to fight back, Ted and John seek help from novice, pop-culture illiterate attorney Samantha Leslie Jackson (Amanda Seyfried) in handling their case.
Back in 2012, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane entered the feature film world with a bang, more like a $550 million bang with Ted. Then came his followup, A Million Ways to Die in the West, which slowed all of the momentum he earned from Ted down to a slow, lackluster crawl. So after his sophomore disappointment, I was hoping his sequel Ted 2 could be a nice bounce back for him, and judging from the trailers it looked like it was adding something new to mix instead of succumbing to “sequel-itis” where it just repeats the same plot points from the first and banks everything on the viewer just finding the jokes funny.
Thankfully, MacFarlane does bounce back and deliver…
For the first twenty minutes.
After the first twenty minutes, something magical happened. In Ted, some mystical force breathed life into John’s adorable teddy bear that one Christmas night; conversely, MacFarlane sucks all the life out of Ted 2.
Structurally, Ted 2 is an A&E Hoarders level of a mess. Of course, I’m not looking for some smooth Inception-like labyrinth of a narrative. Ted had, and more importantly only needed, a simple plot, and was able to coast on the charm, comic timing and chemistry between Mark Wahlberg and Seth MacFarlane. On top of that, and this was most surprising considering his penchant for wild tangents, the jokes mostly had a rhyme and reason to them. Since Ted was far and away a huge money maker for Universal, I’m thinking they loosened up the leash on MacFarlane’s creative control for the sequel, but Ted 2 proves that MacFarlane is like the family dog that gets his family to earn his trust, and when they finally let him roam free in the yard, he immediately runs off and causes a giant shitting, humping and obnoxious barking ruckus throughout the neighborhood.
In a nutshell, this is a tonally uneven, two-hour episode of Family Guy.
Ted proved that this shouldn’t be a difficult movie to make; it worked not in spite of its simplicity but because of its simplicity. Now, apparently too confident, MacFarlane’s throwing anything that will stick here regardless of whether it makes sense or not. Even a joke midway through the film at an improv show that is actually funny has no connection whatsoever to the story. It also feels like a shoehorned effort to bring back Giovanni Ribisi as the sleazy Donny from the first film. My guess is MacFarlane figured he was a fan favorite, much like Jennifer Aniston in Horrible Bosses, and like Aniston’s return in the atrocious Horrible Bosses 2, MacFarlane throws in a half-baked excuse for his return by making him a janitor for Hasbro who conspires with the company to steal Ted so they can discover what makes him real and manufacture a new toy.
Why Hasbro would wanna have their company name used in a way that makes them look like assholes is beyond me.
And, damn it all, his biggest Family Guy flaw of stretching a joke on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on (Are you getting the picture?) constantly rears its ugly head. A camping scene goes on for what feels like forever; a Jurassic Park parody, one that’s inside the stretched-out camping scene, stretches on longer than it needs to; a joke about Amanda Seyfried’s eyes works the first time, but MacFarlane insists on bringing it up again and again; and a Comic Con gag involving Patrick Warburton and Michael Dorn keeps popping back up even though it wasn’t even the slightest bit funny to begin with.
But the biggest letdown here is not so much the dire lack of laughs as it is the balls MacFarlane has to actually switch gears with these dopey courtroom scenes and speeches designed to somehow get us to give a shit about a stuffed animals civil rights. Last I checked, I’m not going to a movie like Ted hoping I get an overly-preachy message shoved down my throat.
Think a film about a lecherous, boozing, pot-smoking teddy bear can’t possibly get any more needlessly melodramatic than A Time to Kill? Think again.
MacFarlane possesses talent. Even I, who’s not a fan of his sitcom work, will admit that. Ted worked, I’m one of the few that actually thought his Oscar hosting really wasn’t that bad, and despite its hit-or-miss formula, Family Guy still has moments of inspired humor. However, his flaws as a storyteller as more than evident. With his next project it might benefit him to partner up with either a co-writer or producer outside of the Family Guy mold who’s actually willing to reign him in when he feels like going off on another long-winded tangent.
The first 20 minutes of Ted 2 have the best – or I should say the only good moments, and as expected, Wahlberg and MacFarlane have nice chemistry together. But this humorless and preachy goose egg completely misses the mark of being a worthy sequel and instead follows down the path of A Million Ways to Die in the West, going even a step further down with its wildly tangential subplots and brand of annoyingly repetitive humor that’s far, far more miss than hit.
I give Ted 2 a D+ (★½).
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