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.