|Runtime:||1 Hour 55 mins|
|Release Date:||US: Now
UK: July 10th 2015
|See If You Like:||Ted,
A Million Ways To Die In The West, Self Harming,
Makes Scary Movie 6 look like Monty Python
How do we keep Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy, American Dad and now Ted fame to keep getting away with it? I mean, for 16 years – Sixteen. SIX. TEEN. – we’ve let this “comedy” producer off the hook multiple times of his overuse of his hideous shock value humour that he recycles time and time again because “it’s a joke right? It’s funny!” And I’ve had enough. This is my line. It is drawn. I am done with him forever. All this simply because Ted 2 breaks a cardinal sin of a comedy film – it’s just not funny at all.
Having grown weary of his married life with his trashy pure Boston wife, come to life stoner teddy bear children’s toy Ted (motion captured and voiced by MacFarlane, A Million Ways To Die In The West) decides to have a child with her to spark life into their marriage. However, when this isn’t possible and the pair decide to adopt, Ted’s legal status leads the U.S. Government to believe he’s not a real person and merely property. The foul mouthed teddy fights back as he challenges the decision in court. Meanwhile, John (Mark Wahlberg, The Gambler) is struggling to get over his divorce to Lori from the first film and is forced into to meeting girls constantly by his best friend Ted but eventually buckles with eyes for the teddy’s attorney in Samantha L Jackson (Amanda Seyfried, While We’re Young)… yes that really is the gag there.
Of course, comedy is a purely subjective thing and one man’s trash is another man’s treasure – but who is seriously buying into these jokes being fresh and original still, after being ripped off from every MacFarlane property since Family Guy debut back in 1999? I’m sure when I watched someone knocking over a shelving unit filled with sperm donations in FG it was hilarious to my idiot younger self. Less so when American Dad did it. Humourless when I saw it again here. Despite attempts at being ‘edgy’ with it’s one liners and references, it comes across as about on edge as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters (ooo look what I did! I referenced something myself! Give me all of Seth’s millions!) as dicey racial humour, gay bashing and gross out merge into one undefined and immovable blob on a couch.
It gets so lazy that the script steals lines and moments from other better movies too in an attempt to spark a reaction. There is no context whatsoever between Ted and John when they start talking about summoning Beetlejuice apart from it’s a reference that’s not been used in the film yet. When the film decides to try and grind a reaction by referencing atrocities and stunning deaths that rocked the world, I simply folded my arms and said no… No I refuse to dance to the vile and disgusting tune you want for cheap laughs MacFarlane, you utter scumbag.
All this means that any possible surprises are neutered since the whole aura of a feeling of nothing numbs you down to not caring with vein attempts to give life to the film. Liam Neeson turns up in the mould of his character from Taken and he’s awkwardly trying to buy cereal for children. And he’s an adult. And he thinks someone will follow about because he shouldn’t be buying this cereal. Look it’s funny because it’s Liam Neeson right?!… apparently. So a running gag throughout the film is that whenever anyone searches for anything on the internet “you’re only two clicks away from Black cocks.” Well no, I was actually looking for ‘Seth MacFarlane is an insufferable hack’ but there we go. I will concede I did giggle once at a well thought out and crafted mirroring of a joke earlier in the film where John gets his own back on Ted with another hashtag line, but that’s a needle in a two hour long haystack. Come on Seth. South Park only managed to get away with doing gross out humour for a few years before settling down into niche satire and commentaries on current events – it’s time to grow up. There is not one single, solitary fresh and original joke in this entire film and what Ted 2 considers to be humour has been done before when it felt more shocking and relevant. This here feels like a “Best of” 3 hour musical performance setlist of a one hit wonder band or singer like Chesney Hawkes.
To be fair, at least Ted 2 is a well made film. It certainly does not leave you confused or baffled unlike some other releases from the last week or two. Everything is clear and coherent – ‘here is a pop culture reference; now you may laugh’ is the level of engagement required for this to work. Ted himself actually looks more like a proper teddy bear this time rather than a computer generated image of one so marks there. But from here, I am struggling to really come up with anything positive to say. Two hours of plodding and pointless scenes and varying pace makes this a struggle to sit through with nothing really engaging to grab you. I did feel there was potential in seeing how Ted’s quest to prove how he’s a real living thing and not merely an object but that never really goes anywhere apart from a means to couple reference to ‘edgy’ joke and so on. Everyone on the acting side feels wasted. Wahlberg doesn’t do anything nor does he raise a performance to invoke anything more than melancholy. Seyfried is not given anything substantial apart from rebound for John. MacFarlane’s buddy Giovanni Ribisi (Selma) returns as the villainous Donny but he’s in the backseat and his comedic talents are squandered again for a repeat joke from the first Ted. Oh speaking of which, a good quarter of the film is spent advertising Hasbro and it’s products in a shameless cash-in as a potentially exciting storyline gets lost.
Never have I ever considered once leaving a film that I’ve been asked to review but Ted 2 pushed me close. Real close. I honesty could have left 30 minutes before the credits rolled and my views would not have changed. Ted 2 is an utterly hateable boring and unfunny film which hopefully has burst the Seth MacFarlane bubble as the shock value garbage he calls humour reaches it’s agonising apex. A film of no redeeming value, the lack of any point to proceedings and the insistence that referencing anything from the 80’s to modern pop culture & events is hilarious leads for me to call to rip the stuffing out of not just Ted but everything MacFarlane has had his hand to once and for all.