“With a wasted premise that is constantly teased throughout the film, I can’t help but feel disappointed with the end result.”
Hey, do you remember that movie Ted? The one with the talking bear that everyone loved to quote? Well, wouldn’t it be great to see him star in another movie? No? Well, we’re doing it anyway. At least this is how I imagine the conversation went when pitching Ted 2, but either way: Ted is back, baby and he is going on a very underwhelming adventure. A couple of years after the first film, Ted is now married and he is having troubles in his life. Specifically the trouble of him not having a penis, yet still wanting to have a baby with his wife. This leads us down a rabbit hole eventually coming to the main story of the film, the fact that the government doesn’t view Ted as a person. Follow Ted as he fights the law with a pot smoking lawyer in this hilarious(-ly mediocre) comedy.
In all seriousness I was surprised by Ted 2. The movie starts with Ted’s wedding and already I was rolling my eyes at the jokes. The movie then makes a time jump and takes a turn that I would have never expected: it starts focusing on Ted’s relationship by showing us a very real argument that he is having with his wife. This instantly made me ecstatic at the prospect that Seth MacFarlane is doing something different with this outlandish character. This theme comes and goes throughout the film, but there are quite a few scenes that really nail this tone. Unfortunately this idea is abandoned in favour of more of the old shit we’ve seen before. So after I had finished watching Ted 2 the feeling I had was disappointment knowing that we could have had (and almost did have) a very interesting premise to the film.
But I have learned that it is a waste of time to think about what could have been, so let’s focus on what we got. Unfortunately what we got was not great. Ted 2 is more like A Million Ways to Die in the West than its predecessor which makes me wonder what the hell happened. Seth MacFarlane seemingly refuses to break away from his Family Guy formula, even though that formula doesn’t translate well to live action. This formula consists of a few key components, all of which fans of Family Guy will be familiar. The first component is the cutaway, probably the most recognizable Family Guy joke. Much like many other issues, this doesn’t work in a live action setting. For a comedy to be well done, you need to have setup for a joke not just a throwaway line and then some footage of a loosely related “punchline”. Going into my second component of the Family Guy formula, this one is more a component of television shows themselves; putting your characters into a situation that will produce jokes, but not a situation that makes sense for them to be in. This works in television because many times you have to accommodate many seasons, but it also works because the episodes are shorter than a film. This also doesn’t work in a live action film (or really any film) because as soon as the audience starts to question what we are watching, you have already failed (unless you are David Lynch who seems to thrive off of that shit).
Another issue that I had with Ted 2 that is not part of the Family Guy formula, is the fact that every joke was either met with characters laughing at it or a solid beat of silence that is a cocky “pause for laughter”. This issue I talked about greatly in my review of A Million Ways to Die in the West, but I’ll recap here: You don’t need to tell audiences when to laugh. If your joke is funny to them, they will laugh; if it is not funny to them, they won’t laugh. It is that simple, and that is why many other films don’t have makeshift laugh-tracks. Why they are present in Seth MacFarlane films is beyond me, but it makes me question whether or not he is a confident filmmaker.
Luckily there were some really funny jokes in Ted 2, but I could probably count them on my two hands. The film essentially takes the premise from the first Ted film and tacks it onto the end of Ted 2. This simultaneously feels like an ‘inside joke’ but a really obvious one, and also feels like the writers just ran out of ideas. The music was still alright, but I found that there was less of an original score in Ted 2, and a greater reliance on licensed music. Ted 2 then has one last chance to make up for all of the shit it put me through. It could end the movie on a sad note, and win back all of my praises for taking a chance. But, it fucks that up because in the last two minutes of the film literally every single problem is solved. That’s right, we spend the entire movie following these issues, and characters trying to fix them to no avail, just for them to be magically solved right before the credits. Really this movie just makes me wish that Ted had died in the first one.
Ultimately Ted 2 is a very hit-or-miss comedy. The problem is that when it is a ‘miss’, there is nothing good about it to keep you attention. With a wasted premise that is constantly teased throughout the film, I can’t help but feel disappointed at the end result.
I give Ted 2 a C