As hilarious as the juxtaposition of a child’s teddy bear that curses and smokes pot is, one feature-length movie pushed the limits of substance in Ted’s stuffing. But it was a financial success, which may explain the existence of the sequel the world wasn’t exactly clamoring for. Or at least, a sequel anyone needed. Ted 2 has plenty of funny bits, a few laugh out loud moments, but ultimately is too long and unevenly paced to make a case for its own existence.
Ted 2 follows the foul-mouthed bear as he marries his grocery store coworker, Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) and subsequently begins fighting with her as they struggle to make enough money. What better way to save the marriage than to have a baby? Being that Ted can’t exactly reproduce, a series of hijinks follows where he and buddy John (Mark Wahlberg) attempt to procure some sperm. When that fails, Ted signs up to adopt a child, but in doing so calls attention to himself. Turns out, he doesn’t qualify as a person, but property.
The two enlist a young lawyer, Samantha (Amanda Seyfried) to argue for Ted’s civil rights. There’s a little social commentary sprinkled in, but mostly it’s a lot of smoking marijuana. Up until this point, the film feels finely focused on its simple goal: Ted needs to find a way to get a baby. The bits work, and the pace feels alright. Once we get to the courthouse, the seams in Ted 2 start to show. As the movie continues, the thread really starts to unravel.
Maybe MacFarlane has been too primed to delivering in a 22-minute format. Even at 44 minutes, Ted 2 would work far better. Some sequences go on too long, others shouldn’t exist in the first place. Their purpose seems to be to pad out the movie. Even if not, they waste the audience’s time. One of these comes with the subplot of returning bad guy Donny (Giovanni Ribisi) appealing to Hasbro’s CEO to capture Ted and mass produce a talking, sentient stuffed bear for every child on earth. Given more care or thought, the plotline might have worked. As it exists in the movie, no payoff ever comes. The problem is solved quite easily, which begs the question, why did we have to spend so much time with these characters?
At its worst, Ted 2 is self-indulgent. A musical number in the beginning lasts too long. A trip to a pot farm also leads nowhere, except to bring in another musical number and once again show that these characters really, really love smoking weed. Each sequence that goes on has humorous moments within, to be sure, but none that ever justify the trip down these story lanes. Ted 2 could easily be compressed into half the running time and would lose nothing. If you love Family Guy and liked the first Ted, there is plenty you’ll enjoy in Ted 2. But it’s never as good as it could be. A smattering of funny sequences and gags don’t save the movie from its own length.
Maybe MacFarlane needs more practice in the world of feature-length products, or maybe he needs a tougher editor. Both Ted movies work for a bored afternoon for free on cable, where the viewer can change the channel halfway through, or leave it on while doing other things. Charging a full movie ticket price, however, is asking too much.
I give Ted 2 2 bear stuffings out of 5
Score: 2 out of 5