July 23, 2015
"Ted 2" assumes you had already seen "Ted" (2012). It starts right into the action, without reminding us what the first movie was all about. You may not fully appreciate "Ted 2" without first watching "Ted". However, having seen "Ted" first will also show you the deficiencies of this sequel.
The first "Ted" was told like a bedtime story about a Christmas wish which came true. John Bennett, an ignored little boy from Boston, wished his new teddy bear will become his best friend. The morning after, the bear actually came alive and they become "thunder buddies for life". Years later, Ted, with his dirty mouth and nutty misadventures with weed and the ladies, comes between the relationship of John and his long-time girlfriend Lori. Meanwhile, a creepy obsessed fanatic named Donny wants Ted for himself and his son.
The sequel is set six years after the events of the first film. It tells of Ted settling down with his white-trash girlfriend from the first film. Their efforts to adopt a child lead them into a legal nightmare, with Ted is proclaimed to be merely as "property," not a real person with rights. John, with the help of a young pro-bono (and of course pretty) lawyer Samantha Jackson, try to prove Ted's personhood in court. Meanwhile, the same creepy obsessed fanatic named Donny still had more evil plans against Ted.
The first Ted had a lot of swearing, drug use, and offensive racist or misogynistic jokes, all told in the brash yet light-hearted Seth MacFarlane style. It actually had a very engaging story of friendship to tell. Marky Mark Wahlberg (as the adult John) really had a great connection with Ted in their scenes. The cute novelty of the animated teddy bear itself was adorable, despite his faults. While watching that film, we all wished we had a Ted of our own, a less id-driven version though. The scenes of 80s nostalgia were also fun, particularly those about Flash Gordon and its lead star Sam Jones. The presence of Mila Kunis (as Lori) was a big plus in the film. The dramatic chase scene at Fenway Park was both heartstopping and heartbreaking.
The second Ted also had a lot of swearing, drug use, offensive jokes, and Sam Jones too. However, the novelty factor of the first film is definitely not there anymore. All the weed smoking and Sam Jones jokes really got stretched out a lot and bogged the film down. Amanda Seyfried (as their lawyer) is spunky, but she had little chemistry with Wahlberg and Ted, unlike Kunis before her. The first quarter of the film had funny celebrity cameos
and one big LOL scene involving John and a cabinet full of vials of a particular body fluid which was hilariously disgusting. After that though, the laughs were few and far between. A climactic scene at the end involving an old Tiffany hit song will not mean anything for people who had not seen the first film. Even Morgan Freeman's guest appearance felt wasted.
The raunchy and irreverent humor of Seth MacFarlane is really the polarizing issue here. I enjoyed the first "Ted" and even the much-maligned "A Million Ways to Die in the West". This is despite the fact that I do not really approve of excessive vulgarity of language and drug use in films. It's hard to explain what was it about Seth MacFarlane's brand of comedy that I like, but perhaps it is that undeniable good nature that shines through his crass jokes. For "Ted 2" though, I felt this was an unnecessary sequel with an execution so lazy and heavy-handed such that it sapped out most the charm and cleverness that made the first film the big success it was.
"Ted": 7/10, "Ted 2": 4/10.