Ted 2 and this review are brought to you by Bud Light. Not really, but I’ve never wanted to buy Bud Light more after seeing this movie.
The first Ted from 2012 had an unique and exciting premise that we’d never seen before. Certainly not a Seth MacFarlane one. Being his film debut as well, Ted surprised us and made us laugh more than any movie that year. His next film I didn’t see, though I trust everyone who says it was terrible. Number 3 lies somewhere in between the two.
I think Ted 2 suffers from the same syndrome Avengers: Age Of Ultron did. Their predecessors were so successful because they were something brand new to us. We couldn’t believe how good it was, and how much we enjoyed it despite the fact that it was definitely flawed. We chose to ignore it because we were so amazed by something else. Now that we’ve seen it done already, that awe is gone and the issues become transparent.
Although the trailers suggested a whole new story for John Bennett and his childhood teddy bear, many of the same beats from the original were used in this film. The last act is criminally similar to the first, jokes are rehashed, and the structure doesn’t change at all.
Outside of the jokes, this movie is written very lazily. I know to not expect Citizen Kane, I just want a story that I care about and keeps me from groaning. I mentioned how the last act is similar to the first. It is unforgiving how close it was in nearly every single way. The main story (Ted proving he’s a person) didn’t warrant that ending at all, so MacFarlane added a meaningless subplot. He took it directly from the first and put it here, and I didn’t even like it that much the first time. And I beg that if you can’t find something original to do, pull a 22 Jump Street and make fun of that fact. The meta-comedy in that film completely saved it and made it better than the first, surprisngly.
Ted, now married to Tami-Lynn from the first film, wants to adopt and raise a child since he obviously can’t have one of his own. Turns out the government doesn’t believe Ted is actually a person, forcing him to sue for personhood. This is a perfect way to comment on and explore mankind, the human condition, and what it means to be human. Ted 2 does none of this effectively. I didn’t actually expect any of that, just some good laughs is all I need.
Luckily, I laughed a lot in this film, almost as much as I did in the first. MacFarlane’s crude humor is predictable now, and you either love it or hate it. I am on the side of liking it. It will definitely offend many, making this movie simply unwatchable for them. If you didn’t like Ted you’re not going to see this, and if you didn’t even see Ted you probably won’t be seeing it either. I assume most people know where they stand on this by now, and I think the intended audience for Ted 2 will have a good time.
MacFarlane is definitely comfortable with certain comedy. There is a weed joke or mention of it in nearly every scene. Living in Colorado, I can appreciate that. There are also plenty of dick jokes too, racist remarks, and pop culture references, which were my favorite parts. Tons of allusions are used all over the place and properly timed. One Jurassic Park reference garnered the biggest laugh in the theater.
Celebrity cameos also added layers of die hard laughs and comic brilliance. I won’t give any of them away by saying that some are downright hilarious. MacFarlane is so aware of their social status and is able to create gags around it. It’s funny the way an inside joke is because it almost feels tailored to you, relating to you in ways other forms of comedy don’t.
I heard a joke was taken directly from Family Guy, MacFarlane’s long time TV show. I’ve seen most of those episodes but couldn’t tell which joke it was. This shows more of his one-note comedy, which is admittedly very entertaining. A lot of this film feels like a Family Guy episode. One scene in particular looked exactly like something that would’ve been done in Family Guy, so much so that I laughed way harder than I should have.
There are a large number of laughs to be had here if you adhere to Ted 2‘s humor. It’s so close to the first in terms of story and structure that the only way to judge the two is by comparing their humor. Ted just edges out its sequel by those terms. Comedies are notorious for having bad sequels. This film does not counter that argument. It is certainly not a failure, but is enough that I hope MacFarlane finds inspiration to do something new… not A Million Ways To Die In The West.