Often, movie studios push sequels after the success of their predecessor even when there’s clearly no need for it. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 quickly comes to mind as a production that served absolutely no purpose whatsoever – other than to make a sad attempt by a studio to cash in on said past earnings. With that, we come to Seth MacFarlane’s charming brainchild, Ted – which introduced the world to a vulgar-speaking teddy bear and his best friend, Johnny. On paper, the idea was sound, and managed to enthrall viewers enough to bank a cool half a billion plus.
And, while there was honestly little need for a sequel, how do you possibly ignore the potential to snag that kind of box office return? The same answer is: you don’t. You get more outlandish, more obscene, and cash-in while doing so… In the sequel, Ted 2, directed by Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, Ted), Mark Wahlberg returns as John Bennett, alongside his talking teddy bear, Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane). While John’s marriage didn’t work out, Ted is finally tying the knot with his bride-to-be, Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth).
Marriage life for Tami-Lynn and Ted is less than perfect, though, and in order to save their marriage, the couple decides to adopt a baby. Unfortunately, the proceedings open a door that calls into question whether or not Ted is recognized as a person or property. And, in order to fight the proceedings, Ted and John hire a rookie lawyer, Samantha Jackson (Amanda Seyfried), to defend Ted’s rights. The issue goes to court – where the outcome doesn’t exactly go Ted’s way. In the meantime, Donny (Giovanni Ribisi), who previously attempted to kidnap Ted in the past, concocts a new plan to abduct Ted.
This time, Donny sets out to not only snatch and dissect Ted, but to also earn his employer billions in the process by creating a walking, talking Ted doll for every child to own. Whether you love him or hate him (and there’s plenty of each on both sides of the fence), it’s hard to argue that Seth MacFarlane isn’t a man of brilliance. From Family Guy to Ted 2, and everything he’s done in between, MacFarlane pushes the creative envelope – and often crosses the line with his brash, albeit smart entertainment.
This time around, the line is blurred yet again as MacFarlane’s vulgar, charismatic bear is back to his old, unfiltered shenanigans. For obvious reasons, Ted 2 won’t garner any acting awards from its leads – which once again includes the reportedly hesitant-to- return Mark Wahlberg. In the first film, Wahlberg did his duty well by portraying his character as a sniveling little lap dog of a man that could barely function on a daily basis. He was stuck in a dead-end job, and spent far too much time partying for his girlfriend’s taste. Of course, a happy medium was found by the time the first film came to a conclusion…
However, it won’t take long to notice Wahlberg’s former onscreen bride, portrayed by Mila Kunis, is nowhere to be found. For whatever reason, whether it was a creative issue or if she simply wanted to focus on her family, she does not appear – and honestly, she wasn’t missed in the least. In fact, Ted 2 thrives without the badgering agitation that Kunis’s character brought to the table. As a result, a new love interest was written-in to the plot – played by Amanda Seyfried. Compared to Kunis’s character, Samantha Jackson couldn’t be more of a polar opposite if she tried – which turns out to be perfectly fine.
Sam is essentially a female version of John – who smokes weed, partakes in all the tomfoolery, and does her very best to help Ted become a fully recognized member of society. With that, we come to Ted – who, like in the previous film, is full of quirky quips that never cease to amaze, and potentially offend. From pot shots at Steven Tyler and Bill Cosby, and unleashing distasteful references to controversial topics, like 9/11 or Ferguson, Missouri unrest, there is no shortage of jaw- dropping, head-turning incidents.
And, it’s hard to imagine Seth MacFarlane having it any other way… Speaking of incidents, there’s plenty of occurrences that will have everyone talking – the most outrageous of which is probably Ted and John’s trip to the sperm bank. This incident, as you might expect, inevitably leads to John being humorously showered in semen (sorry, there’s no other way to say it). And, staying on that particular topic, Tom Brady’s semen also becomes the subject of Ted and John’s “affection. Other notable incidents that warrant mentioning include a repetitive cycle of penis references that – depending on your sense of humor, will either be dreadful to endure or endlessly hilarious.
From Google searches to a rather elaborately lifelike bong, the male genitalia are constantly the subject of these characters’ attention. So, with that said – you’re not a fan of sexually-themed humor, don’t even bother starting this film While the jokes are there own are enough to fuel this film (again, depending on your humor), the celebrity cameos is also in a high abundance – a trend that often engulfs comedies these days.
Specifically, Tom Brady lands a rather important scene, while Liam Neeson appears in one of the more awkward, unorthodox scenes (stay through the credits for the payoff). In the meantime, the scene that provides the highest volume of laughs comes in the form of the New York Comic Con scene, which includes comical cameos from The Tick’s Patrick Warburton and Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Michael Dorn. Serving as the film’s climax, it morphs into this who’s who battle royal, filled with Cosplay characters that pit scenarios like Captain Kirk versus Captain Picard, etc.
As far as the general plot goes, there’s hardly anything refreshing about Ted 2’s storyline. Actually, Ted 2 boasts a continuation of the first film, which again features the villainous (and creepy) Donny (portrayed by Giovanni Ribisi) again attempting to kidnap Ted. On that note, it would have been better for this plot to move in an opposite direction, and not utilize that exact conflict from the first film. Thankfully, though, Ted’s plot is better and smarter than its predecessor.
Overall, it would be irresponsible to make the claim that Ted needed a sequel, but Ted 2 does turn out to be surprisingly entertaining. In fact, it’s far superior that than first film in nearly every possible facet – including outlandishness, hilarity, and general entertainment. Seth MacFarlane and Mark Wahlberg both thrive in their respective roles, even in spite of their often crude, unrelenting behavior. Newcomer Amanda Seyfried is also likeable, but fails to standout.
In the end, Ted 2 is a dangerous film to walk into blind, especially given that its written, produced, directed and starring such a polarizing figure in Seth MacFalrand. Personally, the first Ted flick was far from a delight in my eyes, but Ted 2 rectifies the situation – and is full of hardy, belly laughs (as long as you’re into crude, sexual humor). It’s recommended that you at least watch the film’s trailer first, and if it looks even remotely appealing to you, it will probably lead to a enjoyable viewing experience.