Ted 2 is an unexpected sequel, and not in a good way. I’ll grant Seth MacFarlane one thing: Ted 2 is definitely funnier than the foul-mouthed teddy bear’s first outing. However, the film is satisfied with being a mere collage of pop-culture references that will most certainly fade away into obscurity in a few years, leaving those heads scratching
Ted (Seth MacFarlane) ties the knot with his girlfriend Tami -Lynn (Jessica Barth). Marital bliss turns out to be anything but, and it isn’t long before the unhappy couple decides they’d be happier if they had a baby (because that always works). Ted and John (Mark Wahlberg) try and find a sperm donor, including an attempt to steal Tom Brady’s seed. As it turns out (SPOILER ALERT!) this is a pointless endeavor because it turns out that Tami is no longer fertile, having wasted both their and our – the audiences) time. The couple then attempts adoption but even this fails because of their druggie past.
Ted, despite his D-list celebrity status, has managed to stay below the radar of the federal government, though the couple’s adoption interest begins to raise red flags, leading to Ted being stripped of practically everything, including his marriage. As a sentient teddy bear he’s deemed not a person, but property; now it’s up to Ted and his friends to prove in court that he is, in fact, a person with the aid of junior attorney stoner Samantha Jackson (Amanda Seyfried).
All the cameos in the world couldn’t compensate for the lack of story and whatever point MacFarlane is trying to make about who – or what – society should consider a person. And this failure is all MacFarlane’s, given his multiple roles as writer, director, star, etc., etc. Speaking of which, the writing isn’t even profound to be allegorical. The jokes feel like recycled material deemed unsuitable for Family Guy, meaning some work, most don’t. MacFarlane has the arsenal of the pop-culture world – and many of its biggest stars – at his disposal, but so often misses the target you’d wonder if anyone read the script before signing on.
The problem is not the that movie is unfunny, because it’s not, but that it’s a product of the culture it’s attempting to entertain. Scenes are haphazard, fragments really, playing to a never-ending stream of isolated jokes that seldom know their place; if one was allowed the opportunity to rearrange the film it wouldn’t make a difference – the attention span is limited, the story remains stagnant, servicing the joke instead of storytelling.
Maybe I expect too much and my film standards are too high. Or perhaps Hollywood’s standards have really sunken this low. What’s most shameful is that, despite the collection of talent here, the resulting film doesn’t care about being anything more than another appendage to MacFarlane’s limited comedy appeal, making Ted 2 a loud and obnoxious thing, appealing to the least demanding pop-culture savvy stoner.