2016.4: Ted 2 (Blu-ray)
Ted 2 continues the story of America’s foul-mouthed answer to our rather more polite Paddington bear, and benefits from it being really his movie, whereas there was a feeling that he was more a supporting character, or at best co-star, of the first film (the irony of writing this about a cgi character is not lost on me). The story of the first film mainly concerned his owner Johnny’s relationship with his long-term girlfriend Lori, culminating in their marriage. The absence of actress Mila Kunis, who played Lori, is swiftly dealt with at the start of the sequel with it established that the marriage is over, Johnny (Mark Wahlberg in fine comedic form here) is back to single life and Lori is out of the picture in more ways than one. Instead its now Ted who is getting married to his human girlfriend Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) and the film focuses on how the marriage fares, their attempts to have a child and Ted’s legal status as an object rather than a person.
But a film like this isn’t really about the story is it? Its about the jokes, and I actually think this film is funnier than the first, certainly in this films unrated edit (I’ve not bothered with the theatrical cut). Focusing mainly on Ted himself is clearly a good move, as its Ted everybody is really interested in- what he does, what he says, how the human cast react to him. The humour is as raunchy and crude and ‘did they really SAY that?’ non-PC as the first film was, and if you are easily offended then this kind of humour is hardly going to impress. Regards theatrical and unrated versions though, as in the case with this film when you get a choice when the disc loads up, does anybody ever bother with the theatrical version when there is an unrated edit included?
Like the first film’s reference to Flash Gordon and its star Sam Jones (who returns in an unfortunately smaller role here), the film has several affectionate nods to geekdom with some nice cameos (you could play a game as the film progresses name-checking them and their geeky credentials), culminating in a climactic set-piece at a New York Comic-Con in which the sky is the limit for geek in-jokes.
I guess this stuff looks deceptively simple, but the voice-acting, the digital character work, the actual jokes and how they are staged and the set-pieces stitched together to become at least some kind of rudimentary plot, are all probably incredibly difficult and its remarkable how well it all comes together. I’m actually of the opinion that this is a better film than the first, and it’s not often you can say that about a sequel. Seth MacFarlane has done a fine job here and I guess a Ted 3 is inevitable (but if by some miracle you ever read this Seth, I’d much rather you got us a second season of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey...).