Director: Seth MacFarlane
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried, Giovanni Ribisi, Jessica Barth, Morgan Freeman
Run Time: 116 mins
Seth MacFarlane hit the big leagues with his feature length directorial debut, ‘Ted’ in 2012 and the film walked away being a resounding success and earned the title of the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all time. MacFarlane then went on to host the Academy Awards the same year, which garnered mixed reviews due to his risqué sense of humour. He then went on to make, ‘A Million Ways To Die In The West’ which flopped and now he has gone back to his roots to make a sequel to what propelled him in the film industry. I have to admit, I found, ‘Ted’ to be extremely crude, uneven and not particularly funny so was not particularly looking forward to a sequel. Most comedy sequels tend to rehash the first film, but then turn the crudeness up to 11. Critical reception for this film has been rather mixed, so it looks like the film has gone with the rehash route.
To my surprise, ‘Ted 2’ is actually rather tame compared to the original. It goes down the ‘Family Guy’ sense of humour route which MacFarlane is the mastermind of and the film is very watchable and has a good-enough plot. It’s better than the original as MacFarlane decides to take risks. The film is no masterpiece either as the pacing is still quite uneven, but the gags are funnier than the original. However the film does go down the deja-vu route in its ending which it practically rehashes the first film.
Seth MacFarlane has really settled into his role as the crude, immoral and drug-fuelled teddy bear and Wahlberg provides good, albeit familiar support as his owner, John Bennett, who wished for his teddy bear to come alive when he was a child. Rounding out the cast is Amanda Seyfried who takes over from Mila Kunis’ role as Bennett’s girlfriend and Seyfried seems to be having a lot of fun with the role. Morgan Freeman appears in what is more of a glorified cameo as top lawyer, Patrick Meighan and Giovanni Ribisi returns as the villain, Donny, who wants Ted for himself. The film also includes a slew of celebrity cameos, who don’t particularly enhance the film, save for a rather funny scene with Liam Neeson.
What propels the film is its warm heart and the film always has a target in sight with its clear story. The first film meandered all over the place in terms of its storytelling which made for an incoherent film. The jokes are fairly well paced as well and there are at least 5 sequences in the film that are hilarious. Yes, the film is very crude in places – that is Seth MacFarlane’s humour after all but overall, it is still very funny.
Overall, ‘Ted 2’ is a pleasant surprise that is funnier than the original, despite being toned down and the film is propelled by its warm heart and a clear narrative. It’s a real shame that no-one else seems to agree and instead, the film has been labelled as a rehash of the original and MacFarlane’s career is continuing to diminish. I myself however, would be more than happy to watch future sequels that stick to this recipe – it works.