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July 8, 2015
It’s obscene. It’s wholly offensive. It’s a narrative nightmare. And underneath the layers of mediocrity, it’s bloody funny. Continuing a strangely serious franchise about a man and his teddy bear, the thunder buddies come rolling back on our screens as hilarious as ever. And the laughs roll out like there’s no tomorrow as this muddled mess of a plot brings the typically MacFarlane-esque controversial jokes and a Family Guy style absurdity. Anything for a punch line.
We return to Boston where our foul-mouthed cuddly friend (Seth McFarlane) is marrying his Bostonian bimbo Tami-Lynn (Jessica Berth), in a service led by Flash Gordon. We jump to a year later where the couple have run into marital problems, culminating in ‘Raging Bull’ style domestic argument scenes, tables and bottles flying back and forth in a hilarious flurry.
Deciding to have a baby so as to pull themselves back from the brink of divorce, the couple look to adoption, bringing an otherwise clandestine Ted onto the government’s radar. They subsequently strip Ted of his citizenship and civil liberties, dubbing the animate bear as property and unable to pursue employment, let alone adopt a child.
In an ill-fated comparison with the civil rights movement, Ted and his best buddy Johnny (Mark Wahlberg) get together with junior barrister Samantha (Amanda Seyfried) to reassert Ted’s status as a living, breathing and feeling human being.
Trading in any cogent plot in pursuit of a punchline, Ted 2 is almost a risibly poor story. In the style of Family Guy cutaways, the plot is often seen to grind awkwardly to a halt to deliver a laugh: how many movies would bring proceedings to a stand still for an absurd scene comprising Liam Neeson buying a box of children’s cereal?
At times, the disjointed comedy jars with a crowbarred sense of pathos, making you furrow your brow and scratch your head about what sort of tone MacFarlane is trying to establish. And yet, the film is so saturated with howling laughs that none of this makes a lot of difference to your enjoyment.
Some will love MacFarlane’s unabashed larks, others will find the references to Charlie Hebdo, Bill Cosby and Kim Kardashian crass and inappropriate, but I defy you to look into the black button eyes of our potty-mouthed protagonist and not feel just a smidge of love for him.
As is statute with sequels, Ted 2 is not as well made a film as its predecessor. With erratic editing, inadequate acting and about as much plot awareness as a Michael Bay outing, the film should be no more than cinematic poppycock.
The jokes, however, are watertight, often intelligent and infectiously funny. MacFarlane’s fans will love this fun-packed film of ridiculous yet charming friendship.
Ted 2 is released in UK cinemas today, July 8th