Cert 15 | ★★★☆☆
It hasn’t been a great year for adult comedy. Will Ferrell/Kevin Hart collaboration Get Hard underwhelmed, while films such as Unfinished Business and Hot Tub Time Machine 2 had critics seething and audiences shrugging. Next up, Ted 2, Seth MacFarlane’s sequel to his $500m 2012 hit about immature Bostonian John (Mark Wahlberg) and his talking, swearing, pot-smoking bear (voiced by MacFarlane). This time the pair are heading for court when a government oversight means Ted must prove he’s a person.
It’s clear from the outset that MacFarlane isn’t here to make you think, and what follows is rapid fire comedy suited to those with a taste for the low brow. Wahlberg is still an enthusiastic comedy lead (even if his age is showing somewhat), and the film is never better than when he and Ted are allowed to crash through a variety of gross-out comedy gags, such as a mishap at a sperm donation clinic, or Ted opening John’s laptop. It’s not one you’d take your parents to see, and there are a lot of reheated gags from the first film, but it’s a hard heart that doesn’t muster at least a guilty chuckle at their R-rated antics.
Unfortunately, the momentum built by the leads (assisted by a game Amanda Seyfried) hits a brick wall whenever it’s forced to return to the plot. Tedious and seemingly only present to give the characters something to do, any serious commentary on civil liberties is redundant when it’s placed within a film about a pot-smoking teddy bear.
Still, everyone’s getting in on the fun, and some impressive names crop up to fill out the cast. Giovanni Ribisi is back and bizarre as ever as the film’s villain, while Morgan Freeman grins and takes the cheque in a brief and typically grandiose supporting role. Of the many cameos, Liam Neeson’s intense appearance is hard to top, and fans will rejoice at the return of Sam “Flash Gordon” Jones, spandex and all.
As with his wayward western A Million Ways To Die In The West, MacFarlane’s is at his best when putting together a punchline rather than a plot. However, amid the familiarity is a crude charm that will entertain fans of the first film. A barrel of silly laughs, albeit slightly less hearty than last time.