Film Review: Ted 2

If you were a fan of the movie Ted, then Ted 2 should not disappoint, as it is ridiculously funny.  It is also not a very good movie. The universally accepted definition of a good movie is: a good story, told well. One could definitely argue that Ted 2 is a good story, but it is definitely not told well. That seems to be one of Seth McFarlane’s handicaps when it comes to his venture into full length movie making. But that’s ok when it comes to comedy these days.  As long as the audience member is laughing throughout the entire movie, then everybody, except for the critics, are happy. Unfortunate but true. And in the theatre that I watched Ted 2, EVERYBODY was laughing…from beginning to the end. It was fun.  It was a terribly told story, but it was fun. So if you are looking for a good story told well, well then, you will be disappointed. I think the original is slightly better than the sequel in terms of storytelling, as Ted 2 is awkwardly structured (that starts to be felt during the last half of the movie), has skin deep character empathy and is terribly ineffective at providing difficult obstacles for the main characters to overcome. Yet, in spite of tossing those essential tools of good storytelling in cinema out the window, Ted 2 is still a fun movie to watch. Well, that is, if you enjoy Seth McFarlane’s sense of humor, because in Ted 2, McFarlane shines in showcasing his style of comedy, albeit, mostly not in a very cinematic way. But that’s another blog. Actually, here’s a great video blog on just that.

Ted 2 is mostly a stoner comedy, so if you do partake, you will be advised to do so prior to entering the theatre, or when watching it at home when it hits that distribution channel. I can guarantee you, that you will absolutely enjoy Ted 2 much more so, than your fellow sober movie goer.  That said, the sober movie goer should like Ted 2 as much as they enjoyed the original, and maybe even more so than the first. Ted 2 is kind of like a two hour long Saturday Night Live sketch utilizing all the same characters throughout. The jokes and “the funny” abound in Ted 2. It felt more racier than the original to me, with a little bit more of a cavalier attitude in poking fun at 21st century pop culture and American political correctness. And for that, I have much respect. The first half of the movie far outweighed the amount of jokes than the last half, yet I think that is mostly due to McFarlane’s struggle with storytelling. McFarlane has always been quite the master at inserting inside jokes relating to movies, television & pop culture, and Ted 2 certainly has its fair share of that too, if that’s your thing.

Ted 2 has quite the ensemble cast, which for some, is unfortunate, due to a very sub par screenplay. Mark Wahlberg once again, is just great. However, I think the first movie was a much better script in showcasing just how much talent that guy has. Nonetheless, Wahlberg, along with Ted, do a bang up job in their leading roles & driving the movie. Amanda Seyfried, who plays Wahlberg’s love interest and Ted’s lawyer, fills in just fine in her role, as I forgot all about Mila Kunis from the original. Seyfried definitely shows she has comedic talent & timing, and displays with ease that she can certainly be the butt of any joke. Tip of the hat for a job well done to Ms. Seyfried. The beautiful Jessica Barth also fairs well once again in reprising her role as Ted’s lover, but in the sequel, she is now his wife. She is smartly naive & a spit fire once again, which serves as a nice balance to Ted’s liberal, laid back personality.  Sam Jones (Flash Gordon) is back in the sequel and for the most part, doesn’t disappoint. They utilized his role rather well, which provided a good amount of laughter, as he did in the original.  Giovanni Ribisi is back as the creepy stalker of Ted, and although Ribisi is ridiculously hilarious & creepy once again, his role is grossly underwritten, providing the movie and maybe even more so the actor, a very unfortunate disservice.  The same goes for John Carrol Lynch who is supposed to be the antagonist along with Ribisi. Terribly written role for an actor who’s proven his acting and comedic abilities throughout his long acting career. Patrick Warburton and his new lover played by Michael Dorn, provide adequate laughs each time the two are on screen, but as in the first movie, it feels like it falls just short of something truly hilarious & memorable. I just don’t think McFarlane puts much effort into digging for comedy gold in this screenplay as he should, given the talent of these guys, as well as the other above mentioned cast.  There were also a bunch of well-timed, self deprecating (which are always great in comedy) cameo appearances that were well placed throughout the movie, each one providing plenty of laughter; my favorite being Liam Neeson showing up in Ted’s checkout line at the supermarket.  Other cameos included Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel, Tom Brady, Dennis Haysbert, Bobby Moynihan, along with a few other SNL cast members.

Every professional writer knows, that writing is rewriting, and McFarlane’s movies always feel to me, as if they are a few drafts shy (if not more) of where they need to be. This movie is what everyone should expect it to be: A very funny movie with hilarious moments & gut busting laughs, decent acting with some memorable highlights, and a story that is not told very well at all.

Funny film, but terribly told6
6

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