Even the makers of 2012’s Ted are unlikely to have expected it to gross $550 million around the world. It ensured Universal was keen to make a sequel, although it has to be said this follow-up wasn’t half as successful, taking $212 million around the world. Not a bad number but nothing like the first.
This time around Mila Kunis is nowhere to be seen, as she and Mark Wahlberg’s John Bennett have gotten a divorce, leaving him completely lacking on confidence around women. Ted meanwhile seems to be having better luck, as he’s marrying the bold and brassy Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth).
Things come unstuck though when the talking teddy and his wife decide to adopt a child, as it suddenly make the government consider his status, and they decide that legally they don’t consider him a person, so not only won’t he be getting a baby, his marriage is invalid, he can’t keep his job and he’s now classed as property.
Ted and John decide to go to court to prove Ted is a person, which sees them team up with rookie lawyer Sam (Amanda Seyfried), who turns out to be as much of a pothead as they are. However, the sinister Donny is still lurking around, who realises the fact that Ted is property means he might finally be able to get hold of a talking teddy of his own.
There’s a sense with Ted that the success of the first film resulted in the makers being a little over-confident (something that was also true of last year’s Seth MacFarlane effort, A Million Ways To Die In The West), with the result that not enough care and craft was put into the movie as they thought everything they were doing was brilliant. There are too many diversions that are nothing to do with the plot but are just supposed to make you laugh, but which fall completely flat. They could have been easily removed, but they’re not.
Similarly, the script is structured like a 30-minute television episode, including the fact the first third is largely irrelevant and is only a set-up for the real plot. That’s fine when it’s six-minutes of an episode of MacFarlane’s Family Guy, but when you realise that 25 of the first 30 minutes could have been excised without making much of a difference to Ted 2, it’s more of a problem. And it really is a problem that all this comes at the front, as once it actually kicks into gear and allows the plot to drive it, it’s a much better and funnier movie, but a lot of the damage has been done.
As it’s already shown itself to be messy and lazy at the start, it’s already lost a lot of the goodwill it might otherwise have had, and with a running time of almost two hours, it inevitably ends up feeling bloated (the Blu-ray also includes an Extended Cut which adds an extra five minutes, most of which just feels random and exacerbates the sense of it being a movie that doesn’t have quite enough quality control). It doesn’t help that it often can’t tell the difference between silly and dumb, so that it’s always on the verge of having the audience give up on the suspension of disbelief due to the fact it’s constantly changing the logic of the universe it’s created.
That said, when it’s actually telling its story, or manages to find a comic diversion that’s really good, it can be very funny. It even has a couple of inspired moments, such as the in-joke of Patrick Warburton and Michael Dorn’s characters dressing up as bad cosplay version of The Tick and Worf at New York Comic Con, or Liam Neeson wanting a box of children’s cereal (as you can guess, there are a lot of cameos). Indeed, the second half of the movie is actually pretty good, especially when the movie manages to find its heart (even if it doesn’t quite have the guts to actually try and say anything, despite hinting several times that it might want to be about something). It’s just a bit of a slog to get there.
Overall Verdict: The film could have papered over a few more cracks if it had managed to be hilarious (which helped with the first movie’s rough edges), but Ted 2 is only funny in fits and starts, while the rest is pretty messy but just about entertaining enough to be watchable.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac