Seth MacFarlane. Let’s face it, you know the name, even if you actually have been living under a rock all this time. Whether you’re a fan of his various animated fare like Family Guy or American Dad, his celebrity roasts on Comedy Central, his lovely singing voice, or you just happened to accidentally buy a movie ticket to see A Million Ways to Die In The West last year, there’s no doubt that you and Mr MacFarlane have crossed paths once or twice. The man has become one of the most recognizable comedy stars working today, first in television and now in movies.

Following on from his 2012 directorial debut Ted, 2015 sees MacFarlane bringing about the long-awaited sequel, featuring the further exploits of talking teddy bear Ted, an enchanted children’s toy that just wants to smoke weed, get drunk and party with his slobby layabout owner John (Mark Wahlberg). Only this time, Ted faces a challenge to his way of life, when he finds he cannot legally work, get married or even have children, as a result of being unrecognized as a ‘person’ in the eyes of the state. Cue a comedic courtroom drama, as Ted sets out to challenge this ruling, with the help of John and his weed-smoking lawyer Samantha Jackson (Amanda Seyfried).

Ted 2 Review

Of course,  in actual fact, the basic plot is merely a cue for a conveyor belt of lurid, politically incorrect jokes, pop culture references, and non-sequiturs, the trademark comedy that MacFarlane revels in. Unlike the first Ted film, however, the jokes don’t hit as hard or as fast, with many failing to land at all. A lot of the jokes feel tired and done before, whilst the main plot feels almost like an afterthought at times – dragged out, clunking from beat to beat in a fashion not in tune with the fast paced nature of the gags on offer, before eventually wrapping up in a way so clumsy and quick that it almost feels like the last ten minutes should have been preceded by a further 30 minutes of story which accidentally got deleted in the edit.

Ted 1 wasn’t perfect, but it certainly had memorable comedic set-pieces, scenes which felt big, and some genuine heart to proceedings. Ted 2 unknowingly dispenses with these (there’s attempts at sentiment throughout, but none of it convincing), offering up gags that never feel as big or as funny as the writers and director think they are. The smaller moments of humour are the highlight, but there simply aren’t enough of them to warrant repeated viewing for the sake of chuckles.

Ted 2 Review

Ted 2 also suffers in other respects – once again, MacFarlane proves he can write good characters and jokes for male characters, but not for the women. Amanda Seyfried’s character is the standard, boring, pop-culture illiterate know-it-all that often surfaces in these kind of frat comedies, there to simply bolster the plot along and be there for the inevitable snog at the end.

You can just hear it now: “Stay out the way, darling, whilst the men fart, throw-up, talk stupid and laugh. We’ll call you when we need a snogging scene, a shoddily forced-in song or a set-up for Mark’s hilarious cum/fart/swear gag!” None of the other female characters (of which there are about two) do jack-s**t either when it comes to the comedy. It’s a shame, because MacFarlane can write funny material – he just can’t seem to give it to his female cast members. In fact, everyone here is the butt of the gag, but no one gets a look-in when it comes to firing them off, aside from Marky-Mark (who seems blander then ever here, despite a good funny performance in the first film) and MacFarlane as Ted himself.

Ted 2 Review

There’s moments of fun here, but at nearly 2 hours long, it feels painfully slow and lacking in spark, especially in the clunkier moments where the comedy and the plot fail to mesh together. The first Ted movie had a strong arc for its two lead characters, strong comedic set-pieces, and some genuine pathos in among the toilet humour. Ted 2 has some of this, but it is in no way as clever, thought-out or as funny as it’s predecessor.

Everyone has heard of Seth MacFarlane. It’s just a shame that as a comedy filmmaker and the director of Ted 2, he won’t be worth hearing about as much as he was before.