Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Million Ways to Die in the West

Dir. Seth MacFarlane

Starring Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris, Giovannu Ribisi, Sarah Silverman, and Liam Neesos

After being dumped by his girlfirend, Albert (MacFarlane), cowardly sheep farmer begins to fall for Anna (Theron) the mysterious new woman in town, he must put his new-found courage to the test when her husband, a notorious gun-slinger, announces his arrival.

I am coming at this movie from an odd place. In terms of the previous work of Seth MacFarlane, I am not much of a Family Guy fan, but I do like the show American Dad, and only thought that Ted was alright. But I was perfectly willing to give this film a shot, and to hope that it would be more character based comedy of American Dad rather than the random "remember this old thing" gags from Family Guy. In the film MacFarlane plays Albert as a man out of time, presenting a modern look at the dangers of the west, and how the possibility of death is around every corner. This is something that is fine when done right*, but in this film Albert just comes across as smug and a bit unlikable. Charlize Theron one the other hand is the best thing about the movie, and she deserves a better movie around her performance. Her character makes the movie more watchable, and her talent helps distract from MarFarlane's limitations as an actor. Liam Neeson seems to be having fun as Clinch, Anna's husband and the villian of the movie that Albert has to deal with after he deals with Foy, Neal Patrick Harris's character. Neil Patrick Harris is good in his role as a douchebag, but he was better playing this jerky kind of character on How I Met Your Mother and in the Harold and Kumar movies, but his character is pretty one note, he's just a douchebag that like mustaches.

The movie is kind of weird and feels half finished at times. Half the time it is composed of some great, beautiful shots, and then it will cut to a cheap, badly lit shot.The subplot with Sarah Silverman and Giovanni Ribisi's characters feels like it could of been deleted scenes, since they could be lost and the pacing could probably be improved and nothing would be lost from the main story of the film. She's the town prostitute that is having sex with everyone in town, with the exception of her boyfriend played by Ribisi. They play the parts well, but their scenes kind of slows the movie down and the repetitiveness of them of gets a bit redundant. Most of the jokes involve toilet humor, with a lot of farts and possibly one of the most visually disturbing diarrhea jokes I've seen in a long time. The film's bar fight is good mainly for the way that MarFarlane and Gibisi's characters avoid getting in conflict, and I will admit that Albert's method of wining the duel with Clinch at the end of the film was pretty inventive. 

Overall I'd say that It's alright I guess. The movie could stand to be 10-15 minutes shorter. It's not as bad as most critics said it was, but it's not some great masterpiece either. Gilbert Gottfried's short cameo as Abraham Lincoln is the high point of the movie and worth sitting through all the rest just to see that. I'm glad that I watched it but I don't think I will ever have the desire to revisit it ever again.

* The best example of this being done right is Woody Allen in Love and Death. Watching this just made me want to watch that movie again.

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