Film Face-off: 'Ted 2' vs 'Ted'

Film Face-off: 'Ted 2' vs 'Ted'

Jun 29, 2015

Let's have a Ted talk. Sometimes, wishes do come true. For those who wanted to see more of the foul-mouthed teddy bear, your wish has been granted. Ted 2 hit theaters this weekend, though it might have had less to do with squeezing your eyes tight and hoping, and more about the 2012 Ted making caboodles of cash at the box office. Mark Wahlberg, the voice of Seth MacFarlane, Jessica Barth, Giovanni Ribisi, Sam J. Jones, Patrick Warburton and the voice of Patrick Stewart are back. Let's find out how they compete with themselves in this week's Film Face-off of Ted vs. Ted 2.

 

Ted & John

Ted

A young John makes a wish and his teddy bear magically comes to life. After society bores of a magic bear, an adult John (Wahlberg) and Ted hang out and smoke pot.

Ted 2

Ted and John hang out and smoke pot. Now Ted is married and John is single. Did I mention that Ted and John hang out and smoke pot?

Winner: Ted. Honestly, the very beginning of Ted, with all of its earnestness (and wonderful voice work from Stewart), is enough to win this category. Also with the first, we have the shock of Ted's behavior. Sure, it's strange that John's only flaw is that he's unmotivated. You would think there might be some social issues if you've lived with your best friend, who is a teddy bear, your entire life, but Ted never bothers with that. Instead, it's a standard focus on whether or not John should outgrow Ted. In Ted 2 nobody is outgrowing anybody. Instead, John realizes he's happier when he's unmotivated on the couch, until both of them need to prove Ted is a person with rights. Ted has no aspirations, which isn't a problem in the first, but gets pretty annoying in the second.

 

The Unrealistic Woman

Ted

Lori (Mila Kunis) is a motivated business woman who doesn't mind Ted. She jokes around, she doesn't need John to be too ambitious, likes his body, and isn't expecting marriage. Then her co-workers tell her to want things from John, plus Ted brings hookers over to their home.

Ted 2

Samantha (Amanda Seyfried) is an earnest young lawyer who takes Ted's case. She smokes pot from a decent-sized bong before finding out if that's something her clients would frown upon. She also is willing to throw apples from a roof at strangers.

Winner: Ted. Sure, Lori seems too good to be true in Ted, but that's the standard unrealistic nature of films. In fact, she's pretty much warranted in her annoyed feelings toward Ted. Keep in mind, he didn't care that a hooker took a dump on the floor. It's nice of her to wish Ted back to life at the end of the film, but something that Ted didn't earn. Also, I know Wahlberg is playing down his real-life age of 44 in these films, but it's more noticeable in Ted 2, especially when Seyfried's Samantha says she's only 26. Samantha likes John because he's nice. I think. I can't remember if the film bothers to explain the attraction besides the fact that they spend time with each other. It's insane that a lawyer, or character we are supposed to care about, would throw apples at a jogger for the fun of it. Then again, she did smoke up on the job. Also, MacFarlane joked about Seyfried's big eyes in A Million Ways to Die in the West, and now that well has run dry with Gollum comparisons in Ted 2.

 

The Cameos

Ted

The cameos are Norah JonesRyan ReynoldsTom Skerritt, and Ted Danson (in the unrated version).

Ted 2

We've got Tom BradyLiam NeesonJay Leno, and we're throwing John Slattery in here even though it's a stretch.

Winner: Ted 2. If you're wondering where Flash Gordon is, Sam J. Jones qualifies as a supporting role. While you could say the same for Slattery, there seems to be absolutely nothing for him to do in this film except for a little bit of lawyering, so we're going to allow it. The Brady scene is a little rough, as is the Leno scene. The reason Ted 2 gets the win here is Neeson. He walks up to Ted's checkout counter with a box of Trix, and the rest is odd magic (including a post-credits scene). Sure, it would have been nice if any of these cameos really mattered to the story, but they are all just passing the time. Neeson simply does it the best.

 

The Big Laughs

Ted

Ted comes to life. John says a bunch of names for typical Boston women. There is poop on the floor. Ted flirts with Tami-Lynn at work. John has a Flash Gordon fantasy. John and Ted fight.

Ted 2

Ted and John try to give Tom Brady a handjob. John spills semen all over himself. Ted crashes a car in a barn. John throws a Cookie Crisp into a man's ass crack. There is a costumed character fight.

Winner: Ted. An homage isn't necessarily funny, right? Therefore when Ted mimics Airplane!, and Ted 2 mimics Three Amigos, Raging Bull and Trains, Planes & Automobiles it's not good enough for "Big Laughs" and barely registers as comedy. Ted has three big highlights (Boston women, Flash Gordon, and the fight between John and Ted). Two of those three will definitely make you laugh no matter how many times you watch. There is also a penis bong for the lowest common denominator of laughs in Ted 2. Finally, there must, I repeat must be a deleted scene about who owns the barn that Ted crashes into. It feels like a joke with no payoff in its current version.

 

The Ending

Ted

Donny (Ribisi) reappears. He and his son kidnap Ted. There's a car chase, and one on foot that ends at Fenway Park. Suddenly we are supposed to care if Ted lives or dies.

Ted 2

Donny (Ribisi) reappears. He and his boss kidnap Ted. There's a fight and a foot chase that ends at New York Comic Con. Suddenly we are supposed to care if John lives or dies.

Winner: Ted. It's the same. Seriously. Ted gets on the phone to tell John that Donny kidnapped him. John even says he feels like he's experiencing déjà vu. The oddest part of both of these endings is that they abandon almost all signs of comedy for the sake of caring. While I found the bonding between John and Ted humorous, I never cared. Plus, whether Ted or John dies isn't connected to the actually plots of either of these films. The reason Ted 2 loses is because it repeats, but also it proves Morgan Freeman is willing to say anything if you hire him. In an attempted sincere moment in a court room, Freeman references the Emancipation Proclamation as a similar situation to foul-mouthed Ted fighting to prove he's a person.

 

OVERALL WINNER: Ted defeats Ted 2 ... 4-1

This is the case of a pretty good original beating up on a poor sequel. While I appreciate MacFarlane going after everyone with his insults, they are just not as funny the second time around. Plus, Ted 2 clearly suffers from barely having a path. The first 20 minutes are just random bits until we finally realize Ted needs to go to court to prove he's a person. What MacFarlane is able to do with a 22-minute episode of The Family Guy is not translating to his films. The first half of Ted is MacFarlane's cinematic highlight, and it's been going downhill ever since.

Categories: Features, In Theaters
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