Three years ago, “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane saw the release of his directorial debut in the form of Ted: a film about a teddy bear who came to life based on his owner’s wish, and how they became a foul-mouthed, pot-smoking pair of Boston-based thunder buddies. This year, the duo returns in a sequel, and how much mileage you get out of their second turn is almost entirely dependent on how well you enjoyed their first adventure together.
Ted 2 reunites Mark Wahlberg with the MacFarlane-voiced teddy bear, who starts the movie off by marrying the love of his life — and fellow grocery store clerk — Tami-Lynn (played by Jessica Barth). Wahlberg’s character, John, has hit a bit of a rough patch since we last saw him, having divorced his wife, and losing the confidence to put himself out there to get into a new relationship. One year later, Ted and Tami-Lynn’s marriage isn’t exactly going well, and the couple decides that they want to try and have a baby to renew their love for each other, and to try and become good parents.
Unfortunately for Ted, this brings the attention of the state of Massachusetts, who decides that Ted isn’t a person under the law. After he’s fired and his various accounts are frozen, Ted and John try and find a lawyer to help them make the case for Ted’s personhood, where they meet Samantha Jackson (Amanda Seyfried), and go on a new journey trying to prove that ted deserves his civil rights.
As a standalone film, it’s hard to imagine Ted 2 succeeding very much. Although the material isn’t exactly heavy, this is a strangely cumulative sequel, meaning that people who haven’t seen the first film will be more lost than others. There’s plenty of humor that’s universal, of course, but this film is a definite follow-up to the events of the first one, and you’ll get more enjoyment out of it having seen the original effort. The humor is, in true MacFarlane fashion, hit or miss. When it hits, though, it hits very well. Most of the best jokes in the film aren’t really fit for me to repeat here, but there were several times in the theater where I was legitimately laughing far louder than I probably should have been. Still, with that are plenty of other jokes that didn’t get a rise out of me personally, but MacFarlane’s brand of humor has generally operated that way with a lot of people who take in his work.
Overall, Ted 2 isn’t a groundbreaking sequel by any means, but it’s not trying to be. It wants to be a crowdpleaser, and to give audiences more of what made them interested in the character and the film from 2012. Overall, that makes it worthwhile in my book, because the first one was enjoyable enough for me to make me want to see more about what this foul-mouthed bear could get up to for a second round. How much enjoyment you ultimately get out of Ted 2 is largely based on whether or not you have any desire to see it. If you liked the first one and want more of…well, that, then go check it out. You’ll probably have a good time.
If you could care less about Ted and didn’t necessarily enjoy what he had to say the first time around, the second film won’t give you much reason to change your mind.
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