IN CINEMAS NOW
RUNNING TIME: 115 min
REVIEWED BY: Dr Lenera, Official HCF Critic
John Bennett has been divorced from Lori Collins for six months. Meanwhile, Ted marries his girlfriend, Tami-Lynn, but they fight constantly. Ted and Tami-Lynn decide to have a child to attempt to preserve their relationship. Since Ted is incapable of reproductive functions and Tami-Lynn is infertile due to her drug use, the couple enquire into adoption, but this draws attention to Ted’s status as property, resulting in the loss of his job and financial accounts and the annulment of the marriage. John suggests that they take the situation to court. Since they cannot afford a proper lawyer, their case is assigned to a novice lawyer, Samantha Leslie Jackson, with whom they are reluctant to work with until they discover that she shares their love of marijuana….
You’ve probably read my dislike of many modern comedy films but for me Ted was an exception – yes, it was crude, but it was also genuinely funny, expertly managed its shifts in tone, had actual heart and had that always important and relatable theme of the need to grow up and the difficulty of letting go of childhood. It really didn’t need a sequel, but of course such a fact rarely stops one from being made these days, and guess what….it’s nowhere as good as the original. It plays for much of its length like a weird version of a Frank Capra movie, or more to the point like an extended episode of Family Guy, with some re-used gags that even someone like me who hasn’t seen many episodes of the Seth MacFarlane cartoon series remembered. Sadly, it mostly lacks the edge, wit and observation of the series, and, while MacFarlane still likes to press buttons, even somebody as politically incorrect as me felt uneasy at the way Ted’s fight to be recognised as a person is paralleled with the plight of enslaved African Americans. Elsewhere MacFarlane is extremely lazy, putting in lots of ‘homages’ to other films, mostly comedies, which either don’t make sense or fail to really elaborate or add anything funny, and, like certain other comedy writers who truly are talentless [if bafflingly successful], seems fixated on penises [Seth Rogen] and the F*** word [Paul Feig] while only occasionally attempting to create laughs around them. And I happily admit I may have a far too liberal attitude to drugs for my own good, but how many times do we have to see dope smoking?
Of course some moments do work, the title sequence which is a superb parody of an old-style musical number being the first example that comes to mind, though both Paul and Ted are a lot less likeable this time and there’s little of the first film’s warmth. The budding romance between Paul and Samantha is quite sweet but there’s no chemistrym and by the time the four main characters get to New York the film really has become a drag, though it partly revives towards the end as it incorporates a Comic-Con – the sight of Chucky, Godzilla and both Captain Kirks engaged in a brawl being almost worth the price of admission itself – and, even if the climax just rehashes the one in the first film, it even becomes a tad moving, reminding us of why we liked these characters in the first place, though it’s really too late to save the picture. There are some nice cameos [even at his age, nobody still does ‘noble’ like Morgan Freeman] and Wahlberg is still excellent in his role even though he’s not given enough chance to show his comedic abilities which really surprised me in the first movie. For the most part though, Ted 2 is the kind of film I wrongly expected the first film to me – soulless, cruel and tasteless without often actually being funny.