Directed by: Seth MacFarlane
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried, Jessica Barth
Confirming what many of us had sadly suspected since last year’s morosely mundane Million Ways To Die In The West, Ted 2, a sterile and self-indulgent sequel to the far-superior 2012 original, is yet more proof that Seth MacFarlane just isn’t as funny as he clearly believes himself to be.
That’s not to say MacFarlane isn’t talented, because he is. An elaborately choreographed credits sequence at the start is a moment of pure cinematic magic. Jovially scored by John Wilson and his orchestra, MacFarlane delivers a gloriously grand commemoration to the enchantingly energetic dance routines created by Busby Berkeley in the early Hollywood era, with Ted himself standing in for James Cagney.
Soon the shine of that opening number dissipates however, and what we’re left with is something significantly shabbier. There is a plot, of sorts. Ted (MacFarlane) and Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) are now newly-weds, but find that they’re struggling to maintain a loving relationship. To try and strengthen their marriage, the pair decides to have a baby with the help of Ted’s best friend John (Mark Wahlberg), who’s reeling from a recent divorce. However, when the US Government declares Ted to be a piece of property and take away his Civil Rights, our foul-mouthed bear is forced to hire a lawyer (Amanda Seyfried) and face the charges in court.
There are, by this writer’s count, four decent jokes to be found within this film (which coincidentally runs close to an eye-rollingly endless 2hrs), and two of them felt like nothing more than slight sniggers. The script, written by MacFarlane with the help of his two regular collaborators Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild, is awash with juvenile dope and dick jokes, and very little else.
Whereas the first film finely balanced the banal banter of John and Ted’s bittersweet bromance with the former’s struggle to break free from his permanently infantilised state, here there’s just a tiresome torrent of toilet humour. And if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s also a parade of stale, self-congratulatory celeb cameos for you to cringe at, which range from the boring – Dennis Haysbert has no comic validity, and Morgan Freeman appears to have been cast solely so Ted can make a joke about his voice – to the downright bizarre – if anyone’s able to explain why the scene involving Liam Neeson is in any way funny it would be greatly appreciated.
MacFarlane’s biggest crime though, apart from wasting the tremendous comic talents of Amanda Seyfried, is his decision to push the titular plush toy to the forefront of the story, a shamefully selfish creative decision that allows the writer/director to be the centre of attention throughout. And inevitably, it isn’t long before Ted’s hostile temperament instils the film with an excruciatingly unpleasant tone. The first Ted may have been furry fun, but this is just a fuzzy failure.