By Jason Lin
While sequels are often stressed to deliver not only what works best in the original but also something new, it is really hard to deny the appeal of well-received characters and chemistry. Along with the signature brand of humour by Seth MacFarlane for genre satisfaction, the Thunder Buddies are back again in Ted 2.
What made the 2012 original a hit? The bromance between John (Mark Wahlberg) and Ted (voiced by MacFarlane himself, who also co-scripts and directs the film), and the LOL moments incited by the crude humour and situational comedy. One can expect similar in Ted 2.
With MacFarlane driving the jokes through scripted lines and scenarios, they may at times come across as an overdriven effort either simply due to the abundance of jokes to crack or the overwhelming pressure to keep the laughters roaring throughout the 115-minute running time.
Filling in as plot devices, MacFarlane arranges for too many sub-plot insertions that merely provide opportunities for comedy. It also allows the filmmakers to fit in celebrity cameos such as Morgan Freeman and Sam Jones, which again sets out to delight consumers. This approach may work for television sitcoms (i.e. Family Guy) but not on a feature film where the overall storytelling is equally as important as the giggles.
Ted 2 seeks to debate the premise that made the film possible in the first place – is Ted a person or property? When a talking teddy bear would probably be terrorising the society in real life, it is amazing for a trial to actually take place where Ted engages a lawyer to defend his case.
The emotional pitch attempts to rake in people’s understanding to embrace differences, though the case of accepting a talking teddy bear as a person is a form of sensationalised entertainment. In any case, the film implores people to relent and revisit the practice of prejudicial condemnation against those who are different.
Placing humour at its core, genre fans will not be disappointed as the adult content and language glaze the entire production. This comes from the apt Wahlberg who enjoys a painfully ludicrous chemistry with his CG rendered best friend. Amanda Seyfried not only plays a love interest but also one of the play buddies who spends much time horseplaying with the Thunder Buddies.
While it is without doubt that a third film will be commissioned after entertaining the audience with much desired stomach-bursting hilarity, some may like to challenge MacFarlane to devise a much more compelling narrative in his next endeavour.
(PS: Do stay back for an extra scene after the credits.)
(Also published on InCinemas.)