Seth MacFarlane returns to the director chair to give us a sequel to his first cinematic film, Ted. Was there enough in this film, or was it just fluff?
The movie opens with the wedding between Ted and his girlfriend from the previous film, Tami-Lynn, played by Jessica Barth. However, as the honeymoon period ends, Ted and Tami have some marital problems that they are going to try to fix by adopting a baby. The agency rejects them because in the eyes of the government, Ted is actually not entitled to human rights because, as a cursory glance would indicate, he isn’t a person.
With the help of his best friend John, played again by Mark Wahlberg, and his new lawyer Sam, played by Amanda Seyfried, the crassest Teddy bear in existence must legally prove his standing in the world. If you didn’t notice some obvious parallels between the outline of the plot and what is happening in the U.S. recently, don’t worry; the movie will point them out to you.
Conspicuous from her absence is Mila Kunis, who played John’s girlfriend-turn-wife from the first film. The divorce between her and Wahlberg is a plot point, so it makes her being written out of the movie better than others, but it really feels to cheapen the impact of the first movie. There was just so much character growth between all of the characters, only to have a plot reset button to have the male lead and titular character return to the antics that gave John so much trouble before.
The celebrity cameos, while entertaining in their own right, don’t really feel finished. Liam Neeson’s dialogue in the film, while hilarious, really felt as though it should have had some kind of pay off, and similar could be said for Tom Brady. As a result of this and a few other jokes without true payoffs, the film definitely resembled an episode of Family Guy; there were a lot of jokes with varying degrees of hilarity, but completely lacked a certain flow that you need in a feature film.
While you want to analyze a movie for its own merits, you can’t help but make a constant comparison between the sequel and its original. And when you do, you will feel that this really comes up short. The first film had a bit of a timeless charm; the growth of a friendship between childhood friends, and how when childhood is over, sometimes you have to put your childhood toys away and become a man, but never forget who you are, and the ones you love. Ted 2 not only went backwards with the developments of the first movie, but made references and even its own main plot feels dated.
Ted 2 might be one of the funniest movies to come out this year, and is arguably one of the best sequels to a comedy of recent years. The acting is positively superb, and there is some real genius in the writing of Seth MacFarlane. That said, there are a lot of little details that are just too difficult to ignore. Objectively speaking, you cannot call this a “great” movie. However, this film delivers on everything that it promises.
There is a vulgar Teddy bear getting into pot-induced accents with his best friend and lawyer as they set out to prove that one’s humanity and personhood can’t just be limited to the strictest definition of being human. There are some funny jokes, some gross out humor, and just about everything else that made the first film successful. This is a sequel in nearly every extent of the word, and suffers from every implication a sequel usually has; a continuation of a story that didn’t really need a continuance, missing some of the characters that made it a really great film in the first place, and while it doesn’t rehash the jokes from the first one, the new ones to replace it are, by and large, just not as good.
Bottom line, anyone going to see it because they loved the original will get what they paid for, and mostly won’t feel as though they missed a thing. It’s a good movie, but I wouldn’t expect to see Ted coming down a red carpet any time soon.