by Adam Riske
I enjoyed the first Ted just fine. I laughed a whole bunch and I own it on Blu-ray. I was not clamoring for a sequel, though, because 99% of comedy sequels are the worst, especially when they wait several years to return to the screen. It’s better to strike again while the iron is still hot. So being that it’s been three years since the original Ted, I was not expecting much from Ted 2. And guess what? Ted 2 is one of the better comedy sequels I’ve seen. It’s also just ok. That should show you how rare it is for a comedy sequel to have any value whatsoever other than to cash in on the success of its predecessor.
With Ted 2, it feels like Seth MacFarlane and company set out to avoid making a bad movie, which is commendable. Ted 2 is not lazy like most comedy sequels are. However, it doesn’t seem like anyone was trying to make a good movie either. It’s strange. It’s a movie that seems comfortable with just being a forgettable programmer for the weekend it is released. No one is going to remember Ted 2 by the end of this summer, let alone years from now. It’s ephemeral and has no weight. But I did laugh. A little.
Though there is plot to Ted 2 this is primarily a hangout movie, and it’s less fun to hang out with the characters in Ted 2 than it was in the original Ted. They seem less endearing and more mean-spirited this time around. For example, there’s a scene where Ted, John, Tammy-Lynn and Samantha all go to the roof of an apartment to pelt joggers and bike riders with food to hurt them because they are exercising. That’s not funny. That’s just mean and projects a really strange worldview. Also the movie wants to have it both ways in its depiction of homosexuals and minorities. Ted’s fight for civil rights to be seen as human and not as property beckons thoughts of slavery and equality of sexual orientation. At times the movie embraces these once persecuted groups and at other times it skewers them. It’s kind of annoying; at least, to me it was. The filmmakers would probably just argue they’re being politically incorrect for the purpose of a joke and that it’s not a big deal and that political correctness is death to comedy. But still, the balance seems off if you’re going to make fun of these groups as well. Maybe I’m just being overly sensitive. I just feel like there’s something hypocritical going on.
A Million Ways to Die in the West, which I actually enjoyed) and find myself rooting for him. Plus, Ted really works as a visual effect. He’s always convincing in his interactions with his human counterparts which I feel does not get called out all that much.
But I would be remiss not to mention the fucking cameos in Ted 2 from the likes of Jay Leno, Liam Neeson, Michael Dorn and an extended cameo from Morgan Freeman. They all fall flat on their faces. I especially was annoyed by the Neeson and Freeman ones because they felt like the filmmakers patting themselves on the back (“OMG can you believe we got MORGAN FREEMAN in our Ted movie??”). Cameos suck.
Ted 2 is not the worst, but there’s also not much to warrant its existence. There simply is not much of a reason to return to the characters from the original. Everything that needed to be said already was in Ted, but the movie made so much money that a sequel became a financial necessity even if it made no sense creatively. Ted 2’s intent is to make you laugh and sometimes it does, though not nearly as much as the first one. When it does score laughs, at least for me, they were more chuckles then gut busters. The throwaway jokes scored more laughs than the set pieces.
At 115 minutes, the movie is way too long and meandering, with a drawn out climax at the New York Comic Con that goes on forever (you couldn’t have gone to the San Diego Comic Con??). I admire that the movie is not lazy and that it’s at least a middle of the road effort when it could have easily been terrible. Ted 2 is diverting. You won’t hate your existence while you watch it in the theater. If you liked the original, you might think this one is ok. But you also deserve better.