Editor’s Notes: Ted 2 is currently out in wide theatrical release.
It’s a tricky thing watching comedies with an audience. Even the most basic of film courses spends time hammering home the obvious point that movies are a communal experience, and that comedies in particular should be watched with an audience. What they don’t teach you, and what I find people rarely talk about, is that watching comedies with a group risks missing good chunks of the movie.
Though loyal fans will find much to love here, they will also find themselves encountering the same shortcomings that plague MacFarlane’s work.
More often than not, press screenings for bigger Hollywood movies are combined with promo screenings for the same film. These are people that somehow know when and where every public screening is going to be, camping out as early as 11 in the morning to ensure they aren’t shut out of a purposefully overbooked 7 p.m. screening. Since they’re seeing a movie for free, promo crowds react louder and more often than your average opening weekend showing. Where normal crowds would chuckle, promo crowds guffaw. Where one would guffaw, they scream and applaud like they’re at a political rally. The same thing occurs at festival screenings. It’s a unique environment for consuming cinema, and while there are no malicious intentions, the unintended result is that you can’t hear long periods of dialogue because people are still laughing at a joke from fifteen seconds ago.
It was in this promo screening environment that I first saw the hilarious box office juggernaut that was Seth MacFarlane’s Ted. Leaving the screening, I knew I had to see this movie again as many of the film’s jokes had been drowned out by not only the audiences laughter, but mine as well. I was already a fan of MacFarlane’s trademark humor, and he had translated his signature style to the big screen with rewarding results. I’ve watched the movie many times since, and it continues to make me laugh scene after scene.
Three years after the first film became the highest grossing original R-rated comedy of all time, Ted 2 has arrived to provide a new healthy dose of irreverent humor. If you’re not already a fan of what MacFarlane and his cowriters Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild have to offer, than this won’t be the movie to win you over. Ted 2 covers all its bases, with plenty of pot humor as well as jokes covering 9/11, Bill Cosby, semen, penis- shaped bongs, actual penises, biting topical humor and so on. If you liked Spy, but thought there was too much improv and jokes based on appearance, then you’ll find refuge in the scripted hijinks of Ted 2.
With a runtime of 115 minutes, Ted 2 is only nine minutes longer than its predecessor, but it feels much longer.
Though loyal fans will find much to love here, they will also find themselves encountering the same shortcomings that plague MacFarlane’s work. With a runtime of 115 minutes, Ted 2 is only nine minutes longer than its predecessor, but it feels much longer. There’s a lot of dead air in this sequel, brought about by the fact that MacFarlane spends too much time on telling a story. Once again MacFarlane spends a bit too much time trying to give his story a heart. There are also too many lengthly side tangents that would be forgivable if not for the fact that they are played so straight-faced and humorless.
Seth MacFarlane would benefit greatly from being told that there is nothing at all wrong with a 90-minute comedy. One should look no further than Dope to see that you can have a comedy that features laugh-out-loud humor and involving characters. That isn’t to say that Ted 2 isn’t funny. You can’t have someone like Seth MacFarlane involved in a project without producing some comedic gold, and I laughed harder at this movie than I have at any other comedy this year. There’s a great 90-minute movie hiding in Ted 2. I eagerly await to see what Ted 3 brings, but when that time comes I hope MacFarlane has learned how to better trim the fat from his movies.
With a runtime of 115 minutes, Ted 2 is only nine minutes longer than its predecessor, but it feels much longer. That isn’t to say that Ted 2 isn’t funny. You can’t have someone like Seth MacFarlane involved in a project without producing some comedic gold.