Review: 'Ted 2' Gets Lost in the History of Real, American Change

June 29, 2015

Ted 2 Review

I struggled putting together a satisfactory, opening paragraph about Ted 2. Struggled. Usually if that's the case, it means the rest of the review will be a nice run through a mud-field of narrative connections and sludgy adjectives… like "sludgy." Unfortunately there was really nothing to say about the follow-up to Seth MacFarlane's surprise hit that hadn't already been said about A Million Ways To Die In the West or the back-half years of "The Family Guy." MacFarlane has a very specific sense of humor, and the ridiculous, pop culture references and violent lunacy that make up 13 seasons – and two features so far – can only pull laughs from the audience for so long.

Thus begins the path down casting a critical eye towards MacFarlane's latest effort. Ted 2 is far from a horrible film, even further from being a horrible comedy. The jokes lands with a slight higher accuracy than what MacFarlane usually delivers, slightly lower than the original Ted. The sequel doesn't have nearly the same heart as its predecessor, probably the biggest shortcoming that falls on it. Returning star Mark Wahlberg has little to do here besides react comically to his talking teddy bear's antics. MacFarlane, once again providing the talking, vulgar, stuffed animal his voice, does what he can to make the character feel right at home alongside all the "Family Guy" characters with which he voices.

The biggest problem with reviewing a film like Ted 2 is that there's very little on which to comment in either the pro or con categories. The film is precisely what you would expect, no less and certainly no more. Its place in the ocean of cinematic comedies is sure to barely register a ripple, and, as my Thursday night, when I viewed the film, turned into Friday morning, when I began writing my review for it, the connection of words to form a full-fledged critique on the film began to escape me. There was just no place for Ted 2 in the world and absolutely nothing worthwhile to say about it.

Ted 2 Review

Then, as Friday morning carried on, the events of world began to change things. The Supreme Court of the United States announced a decision to lift all bans on same-sex marriage by declaring it unconstitutional, once and for all. Something so many were fighting for was finally not only within their grasp, it was being handed to them, and the word of the morning across the nation was "acceptance."

At about 9AM, Twitter exploded. George Takei said it best in his first RT of the morning: a cartoon image of a black-and-white character getting bathed in the beam of rainbow-colored light shooting out of his monitor. Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi threw glitter over each other's gleeful heads in celebration, cute party hats included. It's only so fitting that the Professor to McKellen's Magneto, Patrick Stewart, narrates Ted 2, and even brings us into this story with a casual "America doesn't give a shit about anything."

Sure, that was Stewart reading a line MacFarlane wrote, and, as the events of Friday morning continued on, the statement became less and less true, while the importance of Ted 2's overall message became more and more important.

Ted 2 Review

As many of you may already know, Ted 2 is about the cuddly, stuffed bear fighting the supreme court for his own rights to be recognized. In order to fulfill his wish of a family with Tami-Lynn, played once again by Jessica Barth, and get the chance to adopt a baby, Ted must prove his place in the world. He wants to be accepted, and not even the laws of the land are going to stop him.

I'm not naive enough to think MacFarlane planned the release of his film – something even he doesn't have control over – with the events of Friday morning – something even he couldn't have predicted. Yet, seeing Ted 2 and experiencing the rush of joy that came from the choice made Friday morning, one cannot deny the parallels and the importance that one could hold over the other.

With a little more heart and a genuinely compelling story, something MacFarlane actually pulled off with the first Ted, Ted 2 could have joined hand-in-hand with the masses. The decision SCOTUS made could have been used to help support the story the film was trying to get through. Unfortunately, the events of Friday morning are to be remembered solely for their importance on each and every life that they touched. Ted 2, on the other hand, barely touches anything. Let's forget it, once and for all.

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Yeah....I don't think MacFarlane would have connected the SCOTUS decision with one of his movies anyway.....

TheOct8pus on Jun 29, 2015


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MrKuel on Jun 29, 2015


I enjoyed the hell out of the first half. The second half got too serious for me.

ragethorn on Jun 29, 2015


GOD DAMN YOU GUYS ARE ALWAYS SO FUCKING NEGATIVE. Is that the cool thing nowadays, to hate on everything and refuse to find joy in anything? Every time something new comes out people just say "it sucks because this, I hate it because that", and it's so fucking annoying. What happened to finding the fun in things? What happened to LIKING things? Jesus fuck, you people are so god damn irritating and pathetic.

davidshaw on Jun 29, 2015


No, it's just some people are tired of so much crap getting the green light. Some of us are even more tired of fools who'll go and pay to see that crap, thus producing more and more of it. Why on earth would you be upset about a negative review of a movie that is good enough for you. Some people demand better. You don't. Pretty simple. Leave it at that.

Charles Knowlton on Jun 30, 2015


If you're tired of it don't see it. NO one is forcing you to watch it.

David Soto on Jul 1, 2015


dave, you missed my point entirely. I won't go and see movies like these, never did, never will. I certainly won't waste 2 hours on this. My beef is with people like you who do. The studios LOVE people like you and davidshaw because regardless how bad something is, regardless of how little time and effort and COST they put into these movies there will always be enough people to say (and I'm quoting here) "Meh, it was ok". That's what studio heads love to hear. It doesn't cost much to make these films. All they need to do is cover their costs and with overseas sales, they will still make a profit even if it bombs on the release weekend. That's why there are SO many movies like this. Garbage films keep coming because people keep watching them. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "no one's forcing you to watch them" It is my duty to inform people like you and davidshawe that YOU'RE the reason why movies suck so much. Thanks a lot.

Charles Knowlton on Jul 1, 2015


And yet here you are commenting on this article, as though you find it necessary to have someone confirm your preconceptions about media you claim to have zero interest in engaging with. I haven't seen Ted 2 yet, so like you I'm not really qualified to comment on its critical value, but all the same not every film has to be No Country for Old Men, and raging against the masses for consuming junk you don't like is as tired a cliche as those you complain about being peddled in the blockbusters you hate so much.

Dotpols on Jul 1, 2015


I don't need to see Ted2 to know it's garbage just like I don't need to go to the Arctic to know it's cold there.You may not be qualified to comment on it's critical value, but I am. I have every right in the world to say whatever I want about whatever movies I choose to. If it gets ONE person to take a second look at dreck and give a second thought about supporting dreck, then that's great. If you like these movies, then good for you and by all means, support them. I wish the industry would strive higher for better films and I wish moviegoers would too. Sue me.

Charles Knowlton on Jul 1, 2015


But you're not more qualified to comment, and your assumption that your opinion of a film you refuse to watch will somehow make an otherwise potential viewer "take a second look" is questionable to say the least. You're certainly entitled to have a view about the film and its genre, just like I'm entitled to have a view about how good English translations of Russian literature are despite not speaking any Russian. The question is, if you're so dismissive of what you're criticising you won't even watch it, then why should I think your view has any merit? I'd much rather speak to someone who has seen it and isn't arrogantly turning their nose up at everyone and trying to tell them what is and isn't good for the industry. I hate to break it to you, but the general public have always demonstrated an appetite for predictable narratives and distracting action. If they didn't the Transformers movies wouldn't be here. As a general rule though, the people who do like that sort of thing aren't likely to be swayed by the opinions of people who look down their noses at them. As I said, your comment just reads like that of a self congratulatory snob who has come to this review purely to have his convictions reinforced. I say that as someone who actually agrees with the general dismay at the number of trashy films by the way. The only difference is I'm not under the illusion that things have ever been much different and that people will listen to critics (particularly those who won't watch the film). There have always been crappy books and films loved by the masses and there have always been a sub set of people who complain about said masses somehow ruining whatever medium their tastes support. Again, it's a tired cliche.

Dotpols on Jul 1, 2015


i loved it, very funny review is dumb

angel figueroa on Jun 30, 2015


With all due respect, I believe the reviewer has missed Ted 2's deeper levels, particularly its piercingly nihilist observation on the human condition: Will you not kill me if I give you an out of pants hand job while you eat an ice cream cone.

jm on Jun 29, 2015


Will check it out when I can. I think it is getting tuned up for my market...

DAVIDPD on Jun 29, 2015


I think everybody pretty much knew this movie was gonna suck ounce the sequel was first announced.

John Doe on Jun 29, 2015


I liked it a lot. About as much as the first one.

OfficialJab on Jun 30, 2015


Why does the timing of the movie's release have any bearing on the review? This is tripe.

txJM on Jul 1, 2015

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