It is always unfortunate to get a disappointing follow-up to a successful film. There may not have been much of a need for a Ted sequel, but we got it and it landed with a thud. Ted was a film that surprised many for its quality back in 2012. Ted 2 seems more like the messy feature that many expected the first time around. Now the film is on Blu-ray for everyone to check out and see if they really still care about a foul-mouthed teddy bear.
Mark Wahlberg‘s Bostonian John Bennett character and Ted (Seth MacFarlane), the teddy bear that came to life when John was a child, are back. The first film focused on John’s need to take things to the next level with his girlfriend, this sequel ditches all of that in favor of something new.
Mila Kunis sadly does not return for this film, which is a sham, given all that transpired the first time around. However, this film does present an interesting idea. Ted is now married to Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) and they want to have a child. This calls into question legal debates challenging whether or not Ted can be recognized as human.
It is clear that MacFarlane and his co-writers at least tried to do something ambitious while attempting to hold on to the sweet through line that ensures we care about these people. There are also plenty of ways to connect this concept to current societal issues, which opens up the film to deeper discussions. Unfortunately, little is done to make the fight for Ted’s rights all that clever or subversive.
Having Amanda Seyfried, John Slattery and the great Morgan Freeman show up as lawyers putting in the work to emphasize what must have seemed like great thematic writing on the page, but the film fails to hit these beats effectively. Of course, many just want to see the antics of a talking teddy bear and his thunder buddy. That’s great, but it doesn’t work as well this time either.
Ted 2 is not without laughs, but a lot of jokes notably miss the mark and are much more mean-spirited this time around. Having not been too fond of Family Guy since its early seasons due to how mean the jokes had become, it was refreshing to watch the sweet film that was Ted. Yes, there is plenty of raunchy humor to be found, but it respected the characters and did little to directly offend others. Ted 2 felt like the reverse, as there was cruelty just for the sake of it.
Not helping matters was the looseness of the story. At nearly two hours, this is a scattered comedy that is not helped by the unrated cut that I knew had to be coming. Broad comedies should be tighter to maximize the fun and attempting to insert a message can only go so far for a film like this.
MacFarlane at least seems to be invested as a director. Much like last year’s A Million Ways To Die In The West, Ted 2 has aspirations to be something worth recognizing for its cinematic accomplishments. The film opens with a rousing musical number to accompany the credits. A scene that follows is an attempt to pay homage to something out of Raging Bull.
This could be fun stuff, but that also seems to contribute to why both of these past two MacFarlane films suffer. It can be fun to see a comedy that wants to breathe and make some witty references, as opposed to throwing everything at the wall all at once and seeing what sticks. Still, balancing the mix of raunchy humor and professional filmmaking is apparently a challenge that MacFarlane is still working on.
Despite the continued comic zeal and fun chemistry Wahlberg shares with an impeccably animated teddy bear, Ted 2 is another example of diminishing returns, which is unfortunate.
While the film was a letdown, it is not surprising that Universal has delivered a terrific video transfer for the film. Details are precise in all the right ways, which is especially wonderful for a fully CG character that is featured in almost every scene. A good amount of work was done to preserve a sense of clarity. Colors are strong and bright when fully utilized. This is especially apparent in the Comic-Con portion of the film, given all the environments and costumes. Facial textures always come through nicely. Black levels are deep and true. This is a superb transfer.
Great work with the audio as well. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack does a great job of presenting all the various forms of audio that can be heard in this film. The score, dialogue, soundtrack choices and ambient noise is all properly mixed and filtered through to the right channels. The LFE channel gets a surprising workout, given the amounts of ‘action’ that can be found in this film. It’s really an auditory treat as far as big comedy films go.
There is not too much found in terms of real technical info, when it comes to the bonus features presented, but there is a fun commentary track and some decent featurettes.
- Unrated Version of the Film – 10 minutes longer than the theatrical cut and there is not much that really helps the film out.
- Audio Commentary with Seth MacFarlane, Co-writers Alec Sulkim & Wellesley Wild and star Jessica Barth – This is a fun track, but not much to learn from a technical standpoint. Also hilarious to hear the bitterness that comes from not doing well at the box office or with critics.
- Deleted Scenes – 4 minutes of extra material.
- Thunder Buddies 4 Lyfe – A look at the chemistry between the actors.
- Creating Comic-Con – A 4-part feature that looks at building a fake Comic-Con form the stunts to the costumes and more.
- Cameo Buddies – A few features devoted to the various cameo appearances in the film.
- A Giant Opening Dance Number – A look at the big dance number that opens the film.
- Roadtripping – A look at the making of the film’s road trip sequence.
Ted 2 does a lot to set up what could have been a really interesting idea for an unnecessary sequel to explore. Sadly, between a loose story and a lack of commitment to the message, this raunchy sequel does not do much to impress. The technical presentation of this film certainly works though and there are a good amount of extras to dig into. That provides plenty to make this film a good rental, but that’s about it.