Com­edy down to bear bones

Seth MacFar­lane’s se­quel is not a patch on the orig­i­nal

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Ted 2

Cer­tifi­cate 15 Stars Mark Wahlberg, Amanda Seyfried, Jes­sica Barth, John Slat­tery, Gio­vanni Ribisi, Mor­gan Free­man, Pa­trick War­bur­ton, Michael Dorn, Co­coa Brown and the voice of Seth MacFar­lane

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 pot­ty­mouthed, talk­ing teddy with a pen­chant for beer, bongs and scant­ily-clad ladies.

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

The se­quel is a vast im­prove­ment on MacFar­lane’s pre­vi­ous film, A Mil­lion Ways To Die In The West, but even root canal treat­ment would be prefer­able to a re­peat view­ing of that tum­ble­weed spoof.

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 – new love in­ter­est Amanda Seyfried’s a cap­pella ren­di­tion of Mean Ol’ Moon; a bizarre yet hi­lar­i­ous cameo by Liam Nee­son – but these are fleet­ing.

Ted 2 opens with John Ben­nett (Mark Wahlberg) di­vorced from Lori (Mila Ku­nis) and fur­ball 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 (play­ing him­self).

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. Soon af­ter, the bear loses his job and the mar­riage is an­nulled.

“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 com­put­er­gen­er­ated pal and there’s an ab­sence of on-screen 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.

Ted (voiced by Seth MacFar­lane) is on a mis­sion to get mar­ried

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