Alex Reviews Ted 2 - Nothing More Than A Live-Action Family Guy Episode

Seth MacFarlane’s sequel is pretty funny, but isn’t without a mean streak.

Rating: ˜…˜…˜… The first Ted was a typical bromance with the schlub character replaced with a talking teddy bear and injected with some of Seth MacFarlane€™s humour. Ted 2, in comparison, is a feature-length episode of MacFarlane€™s Family Guy. Quite literally - the opening scene of the magic bear sequel features a cutaway, some OTT background slapstick, an awkward gay gag and a musical pastiche. And that€™s all in the first five freaking minutes. With this shift comes all the usual issues you€™ll find in the average episode of the still-going sitcom; hit-and-miss jokes that lean heavily on Americanised pop culture, often repeated from other parts of the MacFarlane€™s universe (Mark Wahlberg getting covered in sperm is a direct lift from American Dad), all set against a weak plot whose main purpose is to get us from Joke #175 to Joke #176. It€™s a proven formula and I€™d be lying if I said it didn€™t work . There€™s a lot of funny moments in her - Liam Neeson€™s cameo reaffirms the born-again action star€™s comedy timing, while trolling an improv group is €œtoo soon€ humour done right - and, particularly in the first half, Ted 2 is highly entertaining. You do sense here that, more than with the original, many of these jokes could be transplanted into Family Guy with minimal alterations, but none would really be improved being animated, so it€™s not a big deal.
Still, we do have that plot to contend with. Amongst several diversions, the story involves Ted trying to prove he is a person. This is hard because, well, he€™s a teddy brought to life by magic, so there€™s lots of legal battles and rants and the like. It€™s thin and not all that humorous once you get over how everyone just accepts Ted in everyday life (something the first movie did), but what really hampers things is a bizarre subplot that brings back Giovanni Ribisi€™s creep and provides some massive product placement for Hasbro. Despite being the dominant force in the third act, it feels tacked on and derivative, thrown in like a Chicken Fight to pad out the runtime. There is a bigger problem with the film though, which almost sees the film lose its bear-ings (needed to get a pun in there somewhere). You see, like Family Guy before it, Ted is both something that revels in the minutiae of movies and TV, and a pylon for bros everywhere. As such, at several point the film goes far too lad-y for comfort, even bordering on mean in its more extreme moments.
John laments how ex-wife Laurie (Mila Kunis was written out of the film) didn€™t like to smoke weed with him, yet is fine shacking up with Amanda Seyfried, who is so pop culture illiterate she doesn€™t realise her name, Sam L. Jackson, is like that of a famous person (that joke thankfully isn€™t dwelled on for too long). The implication is simple; not having any common interests is fine, as long as you€™ve got someone to blaze up with. Worse, in a later scene at New York Comic-Con, the film focuses heavily on a pair of men who stride around sadistically bullying attendees. These high-school level hijinks feel like they're meant to get you laughing at the weak €œdweebs€ and their society, but all the pop culture homaging in the rest of the film, especially a later riot that sees all manner of sci-fi ephemera lock horns (keep an eye out for a Gorn fighting Gill-man), suggests to the contrary. MacFarlane is a nerd who is at his happiest basking in all the weird and wonderful elements of geek culture, but periodically feels the need to act up to the cool kids for posturing. It€™s a shame, particularly when the biggest impact of his work (beyond making shouting €œbut scratcher€ mandatory at any public event) is raising awareness of these obscure things through affectionate parody. Oh well, at least there€™s a joke about how Amanda Seyfried looks a bit like Gollum. Take your victories and all that. What did you think of Ted 2? Agree with this review? Share your thoughts down in the comments.Liked this review? Then make sure you check out the Film Reviews page for more.
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Film Editor (2014-2016). Loves The Usual Suspects. Hates Transformers 2. Everything else lies somewhere in the middle. Once met the Chuckle Brothers.