Friday, May 30, 2014
Movie Review: A Million Ways to Die in the West
I had a feeling that A Million Ways to Die in the West was going to be either hilarious or a huge disappointment, and unfortunately, for me it was the latter. It's directed by (and stars) Seth MacFarlane, of Family Guy and Ted fame, so going in you can safely assume the humor will be bawdy and target any and all ethnicities; but the film could have done without most of its sophomoric humor, too.
Albert (MacFarlane) is a sheep herder who lives with his parents. His girlfriend, Louise (Amanda Seyfried), has recently dumped him, and he's depressed and wants her back. She's taken up with Foy (Neil Patrick Harris), who works at the mustache store (and indeed sports a magnificent handlebar mustache himself), and Albert somehow finds himself challenging Foy to a duel. Luckily, Anna (Charlize Theron), who is new in town, is able to postpone the duel for another week, and gives him lessons on how to shoot. What he doesn't know, though, is that Anna is the wife of Clinch (Liam Neeson), one of the most notorious bandits in the West, and Clinch will be arriving in town soon with the intention of reuniting with Anna.
There were few decently funny sequences in this film, and I can count them on one hand. As per his usual shtick, MacFarlane makes fun of all ethnicities - he just had to throw in a Jewish joke at the end, and there's one that, if I was African-American, I would be horrified at: one of the games at the county fair is called Runaway Slave, and you have to try and shoot the slaves (a racist version of Whack-A-Mole, but with a gun) to win. I will say that this movie has some great cameos though, including one involving that game, and a few others throughout the movie - Ryan Reynolds, Ewan McGregor, and others share the screen throughout.
No, don't see this film. I don't care if you are a Family Guy fan or not - though the acting was overall fine (and we have some heavy hitters here, including Giovanni Ribisi and Sarah Silverman, too), MacFarlane whines too much about why the West is SO bad, and why it sucks SO much to live there, that eventually I lost interest. I know this is a Western farce, and that he is making fun of that time period in history (and the people who lived there), but I feel like he could have done more in it. The humor was also not to my liking, although I will say that some of the audience laughed in places I did not. If you are a Family Guy or Ted fan, it would be much cheaper to just rewatch either of those, and you wouldn't have to watch Neil Patrick Harris having explosive diarrhea in a bucket (yes, that is a scene in this film). Like I mentioned before, there are a few scenes that have legitimate laughs, but unfortunately for me, at least, those were few and far between, which is why this film gets one of my (rare) No reviews.
A Million Ways to Die in the West is in theaters today, May 30th, and is rated R with a runtime of 116 minutes. 2.5 stars out of 5.