Thursday 16 July 2015

Review: Ted 2

Year: 2015
Director: Seth MacFarlane
Screenplay: Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild
Starring:  Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried, Giovanni Ribisi, John Slattery, Jessica Barth, Morgan Freeman

Synopsis is here

This potent independent article helped gather some thoughts on Ted 2, the intermittently funny, yet still unnecessary sequel to Seth MacFarlane 2012 hit. Seth wants to have his cake and eat it. Ted plays fast and loose with jokes about black cocks and white niggas and yet the film gives pays little lip service to black people. Yet ted 2 is a film which is about civil rightsto a point. Really Seth wants to be able to make crummy race jokes while still giving the wink that he's a card carrying liberal. Ted the CGI bear wishes to be considered a human and have his surname called Clubberlang. Here, however, you could say he comes off more as an Archie Bungle.

These days any flaw or dislike in a un-P.C piece of media, instantly considers the viewer as over sensitive. You can't have class if you don't like crass. But despite a favourable view of the previous entry and an admirer of MacFarlane’s animated work, my disinterest in Ted 2 is more down to the fact that that Ted 2’s humour feels thinly spread this time round. Gags feel well-worn and lacking in any type of growth. Much like The Hangover franchise. Ted 2 never feels like the shot in the arm that the first entry gave. It feels like a stale re-tread.

It's no surprise that American Dad has grown from strength to strength out of all Seth’s creations. As it favours less of the oblique randomness that litters Family Guy and Ted. In both Ted 2 and his previous film A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014), Seth has pushed even further towards random non sequiturs with none of the Monty Python flair.

But even Family Guy gains more favour due to its ability to lean on its animation. It shouldn’t be said, but the series can have more fun because it’s a cartoon. It’s become more apparent that MacFarlane has a style that he wishes to stick with. This was fine when Ted was viewed as a one shot. A random series of connected vignettes tied by character and crassness. However, this second time round delivers Ted has less of a rouge and more of an asshole. The jokes that miss are, once again, even more targeted to those with a working knowledge of current American pop culture that’s off the beaten track. This mostly leaves Ted making dick jokes, but lacking with the fairy tale element which caused much of the amusement from before. In addition to this, Wahlberg has less to do. Seyfried is coasting in a drab role and while MacFarlane still doesn’t get enough praise for his vocal ability, Ted is far less lovable this time round. Once the first film became a hit, you can see what little earnestness there was, leave Ted and anything connected to it due to money.

It’s a damn shame that Ted opens with hilariously silly MGM musical-lite titles. It reminds you of how much of a song and dance man MacFarlane can be alone with his love for older Hollywood. There’s clearly some comedic gems to mine there. Yet once the film gets to comic con and makes Star Wars gags (another MacFarlane trait), it’s clear that geeky callback culture currently rules all, and MacFarlane only goes balls out with the easy dick, race and gender jokes, but isn’t interested in skewing things any further. Ted 2 finishes up like the results of what you’d get from an easy bake oven. You’re able to digest it, but you’ll probably need something to wash it down with before forgetting you even had it. A sticky mess.