If the main duty of a sequel is to provide the audience with more of what they enjoyed the first time round, then “Ted 2” succeeds admirably. Crammed with the sophomoric, scatological and scattergun humour that is Seth MacFarlane’s calling card, if you liked the first one, you’ll probably enjoy this one too…just maybe not quite as much.
When Ted’s legal status is called into question following an attempt to adopt a baby with his new wife Tami-Lyn (Jessica Barth), he embarks on a pot-fuelled, foul mouthed civil rights crusade, supported by his best friend John (Mark Wahlberg) – still nursing the hurt of his recent divorce – and newly qualified lawyer Samantha Jackson (Amanda Seyfried). Meanwhile, a renegade executive at toy company Hasbro plots to capture Ted in order to vivisect him and create a whole new toy line of living teddy bears with the help of Ted’s old nemesis Donny (Giovanni Ribisi).
There are, of course, celebrity cameos aplenty with Sam J Jones reprising his Flash Gordon-inspired role from the first film and Liam Neeson popping up in an inspired exchange in a supermarket. MacFarlane liberally plagiarises his own works, with some jokes and sequences lifted wholesale from “Family Guy” and is happy to indulge himself in peppering references to his favourite things throughout the movie. There’s a strong “Star Trek” contingent present with Patrick Stewart providing narration duties, Nana Visitor playing a small role and Michael Dorn putting in a hilariously deadpan turn as a nerd-baiting bully who attends New York Comic Con (badly) dressed as Worf. Proving that there are some lines even MacFarlane won’t cross, a major cameo appearance by Stephen Collins was cut following his child abuse scandal.
Although “Ted 2” is a cynical film, both in execution and content, it tries almost too hard to be edgy and shocking, attempting to drown out the sweeter, more sincere elements of the story. There are moments – fleeting moments, admittedly – where MacFarlane seems to want to ditch the toilet humour in favour of reviving the gently zany high concept capers of the 1980’s like “The Secret Of My Success” or “Mannequin” but just when his sentimentality starts to take hold, another dick joke pops up and lowers the tone again.
More uneven than its predecessor, “Ted 2” still provides plenty of laugh out loud moments – and the occasional wince – but its hit and miss approach has a few more misses this time out and if MacFarlane hasn’t won you over with his work before, this one’s not going to convert you.