FILM REVIEW: Ted 2 **

Mark Wahlberg and Amanda Seyfried in Ted. PA Photo/FUniversal.
Mark Wahlberg and Amanda Seyfried in Ted. PA Photo/FUniversal.
Blair (Zoe Kravitz), Alice (Jillian Bell), Jess (Scarlett Johansson), Frankie  
(Illana Grazer) and Pippa (Kate McKinnon).

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In 2012, writer-director Seth MacFarlane’s mismatched buddy comedy Ted was a surprise hit.

Man’s best friend wasn’t a dog after all – it was a potty-mouthed, talking teddy with a penchant for beer, bongs and scantily clad ladies.

Sadly, the bear necessities of modern life don’t stretch to a second film because Ted 2 is padded with as much fluff as the huggable hero.

The sweetness and romance, which distinguished the original Ted, have been diluted to the point of blandness here and a climactic set piece at a pop culture convention is an unsightly mess.

Direction plods without any urgency and politically incorrect, gross-out interludes are laced with malice.

Between the frequent yawns, MacFarlane conjures moments of magic. For example, new love interest Amanda Seyfried’s acappella rendition of Mean Ol’ Moon and a bizarre yet hilarious cameo by Liam Neeson – but these are fleeting.

The bear necessities of modern life don’t stretch to a second film because Ted 2 is padded with as much fluff as the huggable hero

Ted 2 opens with John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) divorced from Lori (Mila Kunis) and fur ball companion Ted (voiced by McFarlane) poised to walk down the aisle with a brassy checkout girl called Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth).

One year later, the honeymoon is over and Ted and Tami-Lynn are arguing incessantly.

Ted’s supermarket co-worker (Cocoa Brown) passes on a nugget of her wisdom: ‘You better have a baby or your marriage is over.’

The bear lacks the necessary appendage to impregnate Tami-Lynn, so he hatches a plot to steal the sperm of American football legend Tom Brady.

The bear-brained scheme misfires and Ted and Tami-Lynn approach an adoption agency.

Their application is red flagged because the state of Massachusetts recognises Ted as a piece of property not a person.

‘We take this all the way to Judge Judy if we have to,’ bellows John and the pals head to court with idealistic attorney Samantha L Jackson (Amanda Seyfried) to uphold Ted’s civil rights.

Ted 2 runs on empty in terms of originality, relying entirely on our affection for the characters to sustain interest.

Wahlberg trades lacklustre banter with his computer-generated pal and there’s an absence of chemistry with Seyfried.

A running gag about her facial similarity to a character from The Lord Of The Rings develops a stitch before its punchline, while fleeting appearances from John’s gay co-worker (Patrick Warburton) and his boyfriend (Michael Dorn) are superfluous.

At a critical juncture in the court case, Ted activates the voicebox in his chest and sweetly trills, ‘I love you!’

Regrettably, it’s impossible to feel similarly enamoured with MacFarlane’s sequel.