A film about a loveable, talking teddy bear may sound like a perfect movie for all the family but be warned, just like the first film, Ted 2 is about as child-friendly as a dummy made of asbestos.

Ted 2 returns to the antics of John (Mark Whalberg) and his best friend Ted, a pot-smoking teddy bear (voiced by MacFarlane). The film opens with Ted’s marriage to Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth), his human girlfriend from the first film. But when the newly-wed couple decide to adopt a baby, Ted must prove in court that he is a real person and not just John’s “property”. And there you have a plot which, aside from rather bizarrely invoking the struggle for civil rights in America, has little artistic or narrative merit. As is often the way of the film industry, the only reason for MacFarlane and his team to return to the character of Ted was the box office success of the original film.

Now, here’s the thing. If you’re a fan of MacFarlane’s style of humour, a fan of the bawdy and outrageous jokes, a fan of the style of comedy which thinks that if enough pop culture references are slipped into dialogue then someone is bound to laugh, then you’ll enjoy Ted 2. I have to say that I laughed a few times throughout the film, mostly at Ted’s opinion of John’s relationship with Ted’s lawyer (played by Amanda Seyfried). A handful of chuckles in 115 minutes does not, however, make for a good film.

On an overall level, Ted 2 barely hangs together, staggering from one joke to another and feels like a series of sketches with an overarching plot muddled around them for good measure. There are several notable cameos throughout the film (a bemusing scene with Liam Neeson purchasing children’s cereal in the supermarket in which Ted works left me more confused than amused) and it has to be said that the cast do throw themselves fully into proceedings.

But here’s the central problem with Ted 2: it just isn’t funny enough. For the premise of the film to work, it has to be consistently funny, rather than good gags appearing as often as a motorway service station when you’re dying for the loo. At the end of the day it comes down to this: if you enjoy MacFarlane’s style, then you’ll enjoy Ted 2. For the rest of us, it’s a thing to be endured.

Rating: 2 Stars 

By James Jones