“Ted” was a mostly funny film which told a sweet story about growing up and the power of friendship. “Ted 2” has its moments, but its loose structure and plethora of unfunny jokes ultimately make it far worse than its predecessor.
After its initial sequence, “Ted 2” takes place 18 months after the events of the first film. Ted has married his girlfriend from the first film, Tami-Lynn, and they decide to have a child. The only problem, however, is Ted is considered property, and eventually he goes to court to prove, as a sentient teddy bear, he has the same rights as a person.
The audience reaches this main conflict after what feels like a half-hour of subplots. One subplot, involving Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, is neither necessary nor funny.
The main story the film eventually arrives at — Ted fighting for his civil rights — is interesting and delivers a good message of what it means to be human. But this message is often forgotten amidst many digressions.
For example, there is one sequence where Ted, his best friend John and his lawyer Samantha are stranded. It veers from reference humor to stoner humor and ends in Samantha sincerely singing a song. This sequence is too long and distracts from the main story.
Sometimes this willingness to experiment yields good moments. The opening credits sequence, in which Ted performs an elaborate musical number with many dancers, is an excellent showstopper which makes good use of director Seth MacFarlane’s love of old musicals.
More often than not, however, this loose structure works to its detriment. Its willingness to go in any direction prevents “Ted 2” from fully exploring intriguing themes.
“Ted 2” is not an unfunny film. Ted trying to invoke Beetlejuice and John seriously telling him to not meddle with supernatural forces is funny. I particularly enjoyed a joke when they are trying to hire a lawyer in which Ted ends up saying “all of our friends make sandwiches.”
But for every joke which works, there are two that don’t work. Eventually, the problem is not that most of its jokes aren’t funny. It’s that the filmmakers unleash an avalanche of jokes to distract the viewer from the fact only a few land.
Too many bits go on for too long. The film has a running time of 115 minutes and could easily have been shortened by at least 20 minutes.
“Ted 2” is an occasionally funny and very distracted film. Nevertheless, I look forward to MacFarlane’s next film. He has nowhere to go but up.