Ted 2 (2015)

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Grin and Bear It

Director: Seth MacFarlane
Running Time: 115 Minutes
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried, Jessica Barth, Giovanni Ribisi, John Slattery, Morgan Freeman

In 2012, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane made his directorial debut. Ted proved to be a hit with critics and audiences, so it makes sense that a sequel would come. But while the first film provided humorous moments with great character relationships, the follow-up manages to bastardise that.

A year after their marriage, Ted (Seth MacFarlane, acting behind great effects) and Tammi-Lynn (a great Jessica Barth) can feel their relationship breaking down. Believing they can repair things by having a baby, they decide to adopt, after discovering Tammi-Lynn's unable to have children. They're prevented from doing this, as Ted's legal status is brought into question. He's officially declared as property, losing all his legal rights. The only thing left to do is fight this legal battle, to get himself declared as a person.

Returning stars Mark Wahlberg and Seth MacFarlane bring back their great chemistry, which helps to make the friendship between Ted and John the films high point. Their rapport remains believable, leaving no question of how far they would go for each other. But, not everybody manages to return.

In order to explain Mila Kunis' absence, Seth MacFarlane chooses to lazily decimating her relationship with Wahlbergs character. By stating that the two weren't right for each other, Macfarlane undoes much of Johns drive and development from the first film. It doesn't help how her characters made out to be the bad guy, due to refusing to do drugs with her husband.

Ted makes a shocking discovery on John's laptop

Enter Amanda Seyfried, who takes the female lead role as young lawyer Sam Jackson. Seyfried fails to make an impression, who isn't helped by the script, which makes her little more than a tool to just serve the plot, and cram a romance into the film.

As for the plot, it's a disjointed mess. We begin with a pointless dance number, which feels like Seth MacFarlane merely showing off. After that, we go through Ted's crumbling marriage, his want for a baby and segues into Ted's lack of citizenship. That would be enough to fill an average film, but we also get a subplot at Hasbro, a road trip and then reach Comic-Con, with STILL more plot left to go through.

The scenes at Hasbro are mainly to awkwardly incorporate Giovanni Ribisi back into the plot, as well as his needless conflict. But they also add product placement and set up the inclusion of Comic-Con. Speaking of which, why was it necessary to incorporate the annual event into the plot? There appears to be no point to this inclusion, other than MacFarlane trying to add credibility to his geek status, before it all devolves into a pointless brawl.

But the biggest problem with this film is how it can't justify its own existence. The novelty of seeing a teddy bear swearing and getting high got old in the first film, while Mark Wahlberg's comedic  acting isn't utilized as well as it was 3 years ago. Seth's even resorted to ripping himself off, as one of the films big gags was already done in a Family Guy episode from 2006. At best, the film could've attempted a satire of equal rights, but with a teddy bear at the centre of it all. Unfortunately, the message would've been delivered hypocritically, considering how often Seth MacFarlane allows homophobia and transphobia to be utilized on screen for cheap laughs.

Ted 2 joins the likes of numerous comedy sequels which exist to capitalize on their predecessors success, rather than delivering a funny story worth watching. After this and A Million Ways to Die in the West, the future isn't bright for any future directing projects from MacFarlane.

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