The massive success of the first Ted, a raunchy, gut-busting, fresh new film about a Teddy bear that came to life, would naturally have a sequel. Three years later and we finally have it. While at times Ted 2 is unique and fun like its predecessor, its second half falls back onto the success and formula of the first movie resulting in a hodgepodge of rejuvenation and stagnation, but that doesn’t stop it from being a hilariously good time.
Some time has passed since the first film; Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) has just tied the knot with Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth), and John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) is still getting over his divorce from Lori (Mila Kunis was pregnant and therefore unavailable to reprise her role). Everything seems to be peaches and cream for Ted until he and Tami-Lynn start having marital woes, so their solution is to have a kid: the only problem is, they cannot reproduce nor adopt since Ted’s status as a “human” is thrown out the window resulting in his classification as “property.”
With the exception of Mila Kunis, the cast of the first film is back and just as funny as ever. Wahlberg and MacFarlane have amazing chemistry, helping us recall that the Thunder Buddies are one of the best bromances on screen in years. After the struggles they go through in the first one, it is nice to see that nothing is getting in the way of their friendship. Wahlberg continues to remind us that he is not only a great dramatic actor, but an absolutely uproarious comedic force. Seth MacFarlane on other hand, brings back the foul-mouthed, politically-incorrect Ted with more emotion and sentiment. While there are no outrageous fight scenes that showcase the CGI that makes Ted, he is definitely more of a likable and relatable character.
The rest of the cast is a bevy of bit-parts, extended-cameos, and not many significant roles. The most significant, Samantha L. Jackson, played wonderfully by Amanda Seyfried, is the pot-smoking, fresh-out-of-law-school lawyer who takes charge of Ted’s case to sue the government for “personhood.” She counteracts the immaturity of Ted and John with a bit of maturity but she still tries to keep up with them. Other than her, there are brief appearances from Morgan Freeman and John Slattery who don’t have more than a couple lines and don’t actually offer a lot more than star-power. Anybody could have been cast in those roles, though it is always fun to see Morgan Freeman and to make jokes about his lovely voice.
The first half of the film is fantastic with a plethora of jokes, cut-aways, and a scene-stealing Liam Neeson cameo that is so far out of place that it somehow manages to leave you with sore abs. Once the film gets into its main story, though, things wind down as MacFarlane tries to balance out the story with jokes where some work while others don’t. Sometimes it strays into the completely absurd, which is saying something since its in a movie about a talking Teddy bear, but a decent portion feels unnecessary. The final act of the film is essentially a carbon-copy of the first film, in which it tries to hit the exact same notes, and it unfortunately does. Even with its sly reference to this fact, it does not save it from feeling bland and forced, especially when films like 22 Jump Street make a major point of acknowledging that it is being unoriginal.
Ted 2 tries to be as good, if not better, than the original, and for the most part it hits the same highs. The lows, however, come from superfluous cameos and an uninspired final act that make it feel cheapened by a “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude. Nevertheless, Ted 2 will have you laughing throughout the entire thing, even it it is unoriginal. If you were a fan of the first, love Family Guy and Seth MacFarlane, now would be the time to go hang out with that lewd Teddy bear.