There is a moment in Ted 2 in which Mark Wahlberg mutters “déjà vu”. It is of course a nudge from co-writer, vocal star and director Seth MacFarlane of being all too aware of the re-tread his final act is taking from the first Ted. But the problem Ted 2 has is, like any new toy, the novelty has worn off and so the question you have to ask; is Ted a toy for the ages or one destined for the bargain bin?
When Ted (voiced by MacFarlane) and new wife Tami-Lynn (Jessica Bath) try to adopt a child it unearths the fact that Ted is not considered a person but rather ‘property’. Desperate to be part of the human race Ted, with the help of his Thunder Buddy John (Wahlberg), turns to stoner lawyer Samantha (Amanda Seyfried) to help them prove Ted’s more than just stuffing. Embarking on all manner of legal adventures, not to mention a road trip to New York, Ted and the gang don’t realise that a familiar foe, Donny (Giovanni Ribisi), is hoping to take advantage of Ted’s predicament.
The biggest problem that Ted 2 faces, and indeed creates for itself, is that there isn’t really anywhere plot-wise to take the story. So the gags come thick and fast but they always feel like asides rather than fitting into the story. As such Ted 2 is closer to MacFarlane’s Family Guy than anything else. Narrative becomes irrelevant in the face of ways in which MacFarlane can throw-in laughs. The plot meanders along, in fact taking almost till the half-way mark to even cement what it’s really about, and as such is often dull.
The laughs are never that funny either. Sure, if you liked Ted’s foul-mouthed, hostile out-look on the world the first time around you’re likely to find one or two moments of comedy here but it’s never enough to keep you interested. The highlights, not unlike Wahlberg’s other summer film Entourage, come from an endless stream of cameos. The highlight being Liam Neeson’s cold hard questioning of Ted as to whether it is legal for him to buy children’s cereal. And that really is the only thing to tickle. Because, as with many comedies in the modern era that aren’t that funny, the best jokes were all jam-packed into the trailer. So when they come, you’ve probably already seen them.
There is no question that MacFarlane is a talented comic writer, try watching an episode of Family Guy and not laughing at least once, but Ted 2 feels like a misstep in every way. The novelty of the toy coming to life has gone and the only way to try and salvage that is to tread all too familiar grounds to the first film. Ted 2 is loud, obnoxious but rarely funny and that means it might be time to put this toy back in his box.