The second installment of the Ted series hit the silver screen June 26th of this year and I was thoroughly excited to see it. The first film, while not being the greatest film ever made, did have a lot of charming and redeeming qualities about it. Seth McFarland, for one, plays a belligerent teddy bear perfectly and Mark Wahlberg was able to show off some comedic chops throughout the film. Even better, the film was able to stay grounded even while utilizing an extremely ridiculous premise.
Unfortunately, Ted 2 abandons that grounded-style entirely and goes for ridiculous humor and extreme situations for shock value. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but if you went to go see Ted 2 with the intention of seeing a sequel to the original film, you will be disappointed. What you get, instead, is an extremely different film from the original, in terms of type of humor, that uses many of the same plot points as the first installment. So perhaps this is less of a sequel and more of a standalone film?
Ted’s relationship with Tammy-Lynn has hit a rough patch as the two struggle to get by. In hopes to fix their once fiery romance, Ted decides that the two of them should have a baby. With the support of his best friend John Bennet, as the donor, Ted and Tammy-lynn begin planning for their child. That is until the United States government intervenes and decides that, legally, Ted is not, in fact, a human and that all rights that he once had (like the ability to have a job or get married, have been stripped away from him.
Ted must take his battle all the way to the Supreme Court to prove that he, like everyone else, is a human and is deserving of the same right given to anyone else. John and Ted enlist the help of rookie-lawyer Samatha (Amanda Seyfried) to help prove that Ted is not only human, but a productive member of society.
As previously stated, this film lacks the charm and cohesiveness of the first film in part because Ted 2 goes for extreme-types of humor. An example of this is when they find their way to a pot-field and all three (including an educated lawyer) stand there nearly in tears at the sight while the Jurassic Park theme plays in the background. But please do not mistake that for me saying that the film is unfunny. The film is extremely funny, in fact, but the humor is very different from the original movie and I think this might alienate certain fans.
I think part of the reason is the complete lack of Mila Kunis that acted more as the voice of reason in the first film while Samantha, in this film, went along with their antics in the second installment and encouraged the ridiculous behavior. As such the two main stars of the film, Ted and John, do even crazier things than they had done in the original.
Additionally I didn’t really connect with John Bennet’s character in this film like I did in the first. His character had progressed after the first installment, he had grown as a person and was taking steps to move forward with Mila Kunis. However, in the sequel, John had broken up with Kunis because he
realized that he was turning into someone he hated…. a responsible adult. The film lacked balance because of this and it felt less like a movie and more like an episode of Family Guy. It felt as if it was a movie that had been frankensteined together with a bunch of random scenes.
The film also decides, about midway through, that the beginning plot of Ted attempting to sue the government for his rights, was not enough of a compelling story because they decided to rehash old plot-points from the original. Donny, the creepy would-be kidnapper of the first Ted movie, makes an appearance again in this film and enlists the help of the CEO of Hasbro to kidnap Ted once more. They plan to replicate what makes Ted “unique” even if they have to kill him in the process. Donny is doing this to get his own Ted, once again, and the ending of the film ends up with Ted running away from Donny and John attempting to save him.
The film is a buddy-comedy at heart and in that regard it succeeds. John and Ted have some great momments in this film and, ultimately, their friendship progresses even further throughout the story. And the ridiculous humor hits on every level, there is even a great scene with Liam Neeson that I really REALLY hope is expanded on for the Blu-ray release? But the rest of the film falls flat and I can hardly call it a cohesive movie .
Plot (out of 20)
There are really two plots in this film as well as a third sub-plot that involves John Bennet, so it makes it difficult to fairly rate “plot” for this film. Although I think there might be a reason to lose points on the mere fact that there are too many plots? I though the John Bennet subplot was extremely weak and was only really used to (1)give Wahlberg a reason to be in this films and (2) to explain the absence of Kunis. Ted fighting for his civil rights, while seemingly ridiculous, was an interesting and logical way to go with the Ted character and the only really issue is that they really do not keep this the main focal point of the movie. And I really disliked bringing Donny back for this film– it is like the writers of the film couldn’t come up with anything new so they rehashed the same old plot point but made comic-con the venue rather than a baseball field. (7/20)
Characters (out of 20)
Ted and John, as a pair, were extremely funny in this film. But apart, I found their motivations to be weak or unsympathetic. The addition of Samantha really did not add much to the film either and might have been just to fulfill a female quota for the movie. However John and Ted being great along with Liam Neeson being amazing in his cameo really saves this for me. (10/20)
Acting (out of 20)
I cannot really point to any acting issues. While Wahlberg’s character may have been flawed– Wahlberg played him convincingly and McFarland’s voice was born to voice Ted. Seyfried played a convincing pot-head/lawyer and balanced the two very well. Being professional when needed as well as unprofessional when called for. But like many comedies, while the acting is passable– it certainly is not exceptional in any way. Lastly, I do think Freeman phoned in his performance but I do think he does this for many films. (15/20)
Storytelling (out of 30)
How they chose to tell the story was a bit all over the place. Like I said previously, it felt more like a bunch of video clips were combined into a movie rather than their being one cohesive storyline. (10/30)
Ad-Campaign (out of 10)
The trailers balanced the ridiculousness of the story and the funniness of the film extremely well. They also did not over-advertise for this movie and realized early that they would get a huge return crowd just because of the first film. (8/10)