Cert: 15 / 116 mins / Dir. Seth MacFarlane / Trailer
Well, that wasn't awful. Damning with faint praise from the off, certainly, but I sat in Screen 5 tonight with apprehension and experience as my viewing partners*1, and despite giving Ted 2's predecessor cautious approval, I was less enthused by its spiritual successor. But no matter, because watching a cuddly bear say 'fuck' with a beer in one hand and a bong in the other is still funny, right?
Okay, so you've watched the trailer. That's the film, but with more swearing. The first act sets up a courtroom sequence, a road-trip and a visit to NY Comic-Con, over the course of which Ted has to prove he's 'human' to win the legal right to stay with his wife, Tami-Lyn (whose window-dressing role replaces that of Mila Kunis, who gets verbally written out in the film's first scene*2). To Ted 2's credit, there is more than just the stoner-jokes of the first movie, even if the first half of the script still confuses fuck-words for jokes with alarming regularity. Sadly, Seth MacFarlane is still struggling to write an evenly-paced screenplay, and his Ted sequel is little more than a few set-pieces punctuated with shoehorned-in comedy sketches, many of which fizzle out without a punchline (and around half of the ones which do have an ending still miss their target).
Continuity-nerds may be slightly irked by the number of inter-shot blunders, of props and postures changing position dramatically as the camera switches between characters, suggesting many, many ad-libbed takes and thousands of feet of footage on the cutting-room floor. Also occasionally sprinkled over this is Seth's old Family Guy trick of coming up with the most questionable phrase to put in a script (instead of a punchline), then inserting it anyway on the basis that he's the writer, star and director so who's going to tell him that having one of your black cast-members saying the n-word (oh, twice) still isn't advisable when there's no actual point to it?
But on the plus side (and there is a plus side), the animation of the bear is still absolutely flawless, and while MacFarlane's characterisation is still essentially 'drunk/stoned Peter Griffin', Ted's mannerisms match the voicework perfectly. Most importantly, the film features regular chuckles, a laugh every ten minutes or so and three or four of those are real guffaws. The courtroom scene*3 and Comic-Con sequence are quite marvellous; the rest is fairly amusing filler. Only you can decide if that's worth a trip to the cinema.
Seriously though, what's with the 'Sam Jackson being the black guy from every movie' gag? Everyone knows that mantle belongs more to Morgan Freeman who, ironically(?), appears in Ted 2 in that very perfunctory role. I honestly get the impression his lawyer character was written for Jackson who turned the role down (and it'd certainly make the joke about 'Samantha Jackson' work a lot better).
There's also a scene at the very end of the credits for those of you who want to wait for an extra five minutes. It's not a biggie, but a nice callback to an earlier, rather bizarre, gag.
Probably best for a rental with a few beers.
That's a tricky question given the film features Mark Wahlberg, but I'll say no.
There certainly is (Comic-Con brawl, bold as brass).
As well as a a plethora of visual references in the NY Comic-Con sequence, Ted 2 features an appearance from none other than Qui-Gon Jinn himself, Liam Neeson, and Patrick Warburton, the voice of G2-4T in Disneyland's Star Tours: The Adventures Continue.
*1 I didn't, really. The seats around me were empty. Very few people in my town give a shit about this film. Then again, it was a 20:15 exclusive-preview for a movie which opens at 12:40 the next day. Not exactly 'test-audience' stuff.
*2 During which Wahlberg's character complains that Kunis' character was "trying to change him". Which, as I noted at the time, is the polar-fucking-opposite of the film that I watched.
*3 By which I mean the first courtroom scene. The one with the jokes in. Not the second one where MacFarlane has realised that he's got to wrap up the film as well as get his money's worth from Morgan Freeman, so just has him deliver a standard courtroom monologue without wit, charm or indeed comedy, because there just isn't time for that shit.
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
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