As “Ted” demonstrated and “A Million Ways to Die in the West” verified, the comedy stylings of Seth MacFarlane are best enjoyed in a carefully controlled environment — say, an episode of “Family Guy,” which is animated (making the absurdities easier to swallow), and which can never be more than 22 minutes long (forcing MacFarlane and company to follow a structure). In “Ted 2,” the sequel to the 2012 hit about a living teddy bear, director MacFarlane and co-writers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild are once again given free rein to stretch a small, satirical story into nearly two hours, padding it with sketches, bits, and diversions that have nothing to do with the main action. (How forced is this stretching? The four-hour drive from Boston to New York City becomes a two-day, overnight road trip, just to kill time.) There are several good laughs here — but they all come not from the characters or the situations, but from random jokes that could just as easily have been inserted into a “Family Guy” episode or a sketch-comedy show.
The story eventually has Ted (voiced by MacFarlane) and his human pal John (Mark Wahlberg) going to court to prove Ted’s personhood so that he can legally marry his girlfriend, Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth). But first there are tangents related to obtaining a sperm donor (Ted, lacking genitals, is infertile), and somehow Tom Brady is dragged into it. Ted’s lawyer, Samantha (Amanda Seyfried), is a pothead like Ted and John are, and she becomes John’s new love interest. (His previous love interest divorced him between movies, coincidentally around the same time that Mila Kunis declined to participate in the sequel.) Giovanni Ribisi is back as the villainous janitor who wants Ted for himself. New York Comic-Con is heavily featured. There’s the usual assortment of non sequitur jokes, the more “taboo” (never mind funny), the better. Because get it? The teddy bear says swear words!
Jeff Bayer and I reviewed the film in greater detail on Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider. You can listen to that segment below.
C (1 hr., 55 min.; )