By Mark Saldana
Rating: 2.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
After continued success with animated shows Family Guy and American Dad!, and mixed reviews, and moderate box office success with western spoof, A Million Ways to Die in the West, Seth MacFarlane has returned to cinema with the sequel to his funny, but sometimes raucous teddy bear movie Ted. Overall, I like the first one, but definitely don’t love it. The first acts of the film are comedy gold, but some gags get repeated too much and the MacFarlane’s penchant for shock-and-awe comedy just gets old after a while. This week I left the Ted 2 screening feeling pretty much the same as I felt in 2012 when I reviewed the first film. Much like its predecessor, Ted 2 has its share of hilarious moments, but some gags gets old, as does MacFarlane’s overuse of ribaldry.
After the events of the first film, things don’t work out so well for John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) and his girlfriend Lori, but things are working out beautifully for his buddy Ted (MacFarlane). He and his girlfriend Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) get married and move into a place of their own. After the honeymoon period ends, marital woes begin to set in with Ted and his wife fighting all the time. The couple decide to seek out adoption of a child in hopes of saving their marriage. Adoption of a child proves to be even more challenging for Ted, as the court system questions whether or not the sentient teddy bear can legally be defined as a person.
On the more positive end of the spectrum, MacFarlane, who once again directs and co-writes with Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild, delivers more hilarious jokes and gags with plenty of fun and entertaining parodies, pop-culture references, and the usual brand of humor for which he is known. I found myself laughing more than I did during the first film. The main problem, though, and it’s the usual problem sequels have, is that some gags get rehashed from the first film. Even some jokes get rehashed from Family Guy. In addition, MacFarlane’s love for shocking his audience sometimes takes precedence over attempts at intelligent humor. These issues really hold what could have been a superior sequel from outshining the first film.
The die-hard fans of Seth MacFarlane will no doubt love every serving of comedy that this film has to offer, regardless of its actual quality. I suppose that’s fine for those folks, but I want fresh material, not the reliance on stock routines. I suppose some repetition of comic material from the previous film is to be expected; however, I’d have a bit more respect for attempts at something new as opposed to repetition of “greatest hits”. Another issue I have with MacFarlane’s humor is his tendency to repeat jokes, one-liners, and pratfalls over and over to where the repetition grows really annoying.
Still, I can’t say I absolutely hated this film. MacFarlane actually does bring some heart to his work and this element offers a more charming and endearing quality to his shows and movies. He and his casting department also select some tremendously talented actors who seem to have fun and have no trouble poking fun at themselves. Obviously not perfect, Ted 2 can be a fun time at the cinema, but audience members familiar with Seth MacFarlane should already know to expect a mix of hilarity, awkward misses, and attempts to shock and possible offend.