The original Ted, from Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane follows Mark Wahlberg and a talking Teddy Bear (the titular Ted) as they… well they don’t do a whole lot. They’re friends, they say funny things, and it’s a pretty good time. Ted 2 sees Ted getting married, starting a family, and fighting the US government for his civil rights. Simple sequel stuff.
That sarcastic sentence summarizes my biggest problem with the movie: it’s not simple. The mixture of plots and subplots lead to the movie feeling very unfocused. Giovanni Ribisi’s villain in particular feels like he doesn’t belong in the movie that already has enough conflict with Ted’s legal woes. I would like to point out that I’m not referring to the frequent cutaways in the movie. Seth MacFarlane excels at short form comedy, and Ted 2 benefits from him having more confidence and not being so afraid of matching the style of his TV show.
One of the biggest changes from the first movie is that Mila Kunis is completely written out. She is (at risk of sounding callous) replaced by Amanda Seyfried, who plays Ted’s lawyer. I never thought I’d say this, but I actually prefer Seyfried to Kunis. This isn’t really a sleight to Kunis, as I believe her character suffered from being an underwritten shrew. Seyfried is given an equal amount of jokes, including one of my favorite sequences of the film (a very clever Snow White homage).
In his third feature film, Seth MacFarlane is still working out who he wants to be as a filmmaker. The original Ted suffered from trying too hard to imitate the Apatow comedies that preceded it and A Million Ways to Die in the West lacked any sort of narrative focus. Ted 2 falls somewhere in between. Though it’s not a perfect movie, Ted 2 manages to fix some problems from the first movie, while creating a few new ones. It may be two steps forward and one step back but that’s better than the boring retread that most comedy sequels become.
Quick Review: Ted 2 doesn’t break any new ground, but by fixing a few problems of the original, manages to be an overall more satisfying comedy fantasy.