Ted 2, film review: Sneering sequel is too much to grin and bear


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Seth MacFarlane's sequel to his hit comedy from 2012 is a thoroughly contradictory affair. The cynical, foul-mouthed and pot-smoking teddy bear with a worm’s-eye view of life may seem a little like an antichrist version of Paddington… but he still wants to be cuddled. The film has the feel of a kids’ movie caught in the body of a scabrous adult comedy. Intermittently, it can be very funny indeed, but the sheer nastiness of many of its jokes undermine its attempts to ingratiate itself.

The story starts with Ted getting married to Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth). (“You may kiss the bear!”) The couple live in a tenement and bicker all the time. As they throw crockery at each other and yell obscenities at their neighbours, the film seems to be turning into a spoof of blue-collar movies about failing relationships. Ted and Tami-Lynn have dead-end jobs at the supermarket. To get away from the feuding, the teddy bear spends as much time as he can drinking and taking drugs with his best buddy John (Mark Wahlberg), who is now a porn addict living on his own.

Ted and Tami-Lynn decide that the only way they can save their relationship is by having a baby, which requires a sperm donor – and results in a lot of very smutty slapstick. Ted’s more serious problem is that the government does not recognise him as a “person”, which means that he has no rights. Worse, a creepy toilet attendant, Donny (Giovanni Ribisi), is hatching a plan to kidnap him.

The writing here is often witty. As Ted’s devoted friend, Wahlberg underplays beautifully and there is an engaging performance, too, from Amanda Seyfried as the pothead young lawyer who takes on Ted’s case.

What is far less attractive is the way the film seems to sneer at the butts of many of its jokes, whether they’re nerdish comic-book fans, nurses, joggers, or the stand-up comedians whose improv routines Ted and his friends take such pleasure in sabotaging.

Seth MacFarlane, 116 mins Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Amanda Seyfried,  Seth MacFarlane