Seth MacFarlane’s furry alter ego is back, but is Ted the gift that keeps on giving or a one-note cartoon joke without a punchline?
As the one guy who gave the original Ted a five-star review, named it one of the three best films of 2012 and has watched it fourteen times since its release, I feel it is my duty to inform you how bad Ted 2 is. Wow, it’s bad. The epitome of inferior comedy sequels, this film is so lazily produced and full of cheap cash-in material, there’s a legitimate chance writer/director/producer/star Seth MacFarlane is completely bullshitting us, testing how long it takes for someone to pull out his bearskin rug and is preparing to release his actual, decent, funny Ted sequel to the public. For Ted 2 is, in its endless resorting to tired running gags from the original film and desperate throwbacks to better times, possibly the worst major comedy sequel we’ve seen for many years. At least Anchorman 2 had a coherent plot, and wasn’t merely a string of weak skits taped together and sold as “Bigger Better Teddier”. At least Dumb and Dumber To had the excuse of a twenty-year hiatus prior to its making, in which its directors had time to lose their comedic talent. Ted was released just three years ago, and if the most recent season of Family Guy is to be believed, MacFarlane has lost little-to-none of his intelligence, wit and bite in this period. But Ted 2 is just so unfunny, so unoriginal and so damn boring, it’s hard to grasp that this same genius has produced it and willingly presented it on a golden platter to the world. Is he honestly proud of Ted 2? Does he think this is what the public deserve? Why make a sequel at all? With a few alternate sequences and cuts here and there, Ted 2012 could quite easily become a film not too dissimilar to Ted 2. One imagines a world in which Ted 2 is a film constructed merely from the outtakes and deleted scenes of Ted 2012, and is a better film for it.
What Ted 2 has of a plot is this: Ted married, Ted’s wife a dirty whore, Ted hates wife who buys expensive clothes UGH WOMEN ARE SO ANNOYING AND EXPENSIVE, Ted wants wife to bear his offspring, Ted has no penis AHAHAHAHAHA, Ted’s wife is drug addict so is infertile AHAHAHA, Ted tries to adopt human child, Ted is deemed property of Mark Wahlberg’s character, Ted is no longer a citizen of the US (the horror, the horror), Ted hires implausibly attractive attorney and god to court to defend his civil rights. That covers either the first hour or the first twenty minutes of Ted 2, depending on how willing you are to cooperate with MacFarlane’s bullshit basket of cliché. Hidden inside said basket is… ummm… Ted 2012, with some slight changes. Gone is the fast-pace, the self-parodical racism and the Joel McHale/Mila Kunis charm. In is a deafeningly silent sound mix (and, most likely, auditorium), constant brandishing of Flash Gordon actor Sam Jones and a series of rejected Family Guy cutaway gags featuring the likes of Liam Neeson and Tom Brady. None of it’s very funny, nor enjoyable, nor enlightening. If a film does not entertain, amuse, move or inspire, what is its purpose? Ted 2‘s is to make Universal many monies, and it may as well tell the audience as much. The opening titles sequence, an expensive musical number structured around a tap-dancing Ted, sounds spectacular on paper, but is on film a shockingly miserable, cheap-looking CGI sequence which in no way “harks back to classic Hollywood”. MacFarlane knows his classic Hollywood, and classic Hollywood would spit in the face of something as irredeemably cynical (without any of the expected commentary or sass) as Ted 2.
A romance between Wahlberg’s character and Amanda Seyfried’s attorney (who’s name is Sam L. Jackson. Ain’t that just hilarious?) is signposted a mile off, despite them seemingly sharing no passions outside of marijuana. A scene in which the central trio of characters discover a field of marijuana leaf to the accompaniment of the Jurassic Park music is beyond appalling; similar to what one would see in a short film made by some 7-year old kids. The most aggressively-repeated recurring jokes involve a Google dominated by a particular brand of photographic pornography, and a bong shaped like a man’s penis that nobody will use. “Imagine having a glass penis-shape near your face! How disgusting! Imagine how GAAAY you’d look! Gross!”. Patrick Warburton’s character, defined solely by his homosexuality in a REALLY PROGRESSIVE bit of scriptwriting, is taken to places by the story that GLAAD would furrow their brows at. A desperate attempt at contradiction, as Ted makes a speech defending the “homos”, is unsubtle and pathetic.
It would be easy to just ignore Ted 2 and continue to enjoy Ted 2012 as the contemporary classic that it is, but having seen this infuriatingly stupid sequel does indeed signpost many of the first film’s flaws. It did, it seems, have homophobia and sexism buried just below the surface, but worst of all: it had the potential to spawn a sequel such as this.