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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Movie Review - A Million Ways to Die in the West

A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014)
Starring Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Giovanni Ribisi, Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman, and Liam Neeson
Directed by Seth MacFarlane

I'm not sure I ever thought I'd write a sentence containing this sentiment, but Sarah Silverman is the best part of Seth MacFarlane's much too long A Million Ways to Die in the West.  Quite frankly, it's a shame the female comic isn't in the film a bit more.  Then again, I can take Silverman in small doses so it's probably better her role as a morally conscious prostitute in 1882 Arizona is only a supporting one.  Still, her comedic timing with co-star Giovanni Ribisi as her celibate boyfriend provide the film its few and far between laughs.

In an obvious attempt to meld Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles with modern-day Family Guy sensibilities, writer-director MacFarlane throws a bunch of jokes at the audience (at least in the first two-thirds of its two hour running time), but they mostly fall flat.  MacFarlane's comedic timing works on an animated show like Family Guy where we can easily suspend our reality, but when MacFarlane himself is onscreen rattling off jokes that overstay their welcome, we tire much easier, unable to really foster his scattershot comedic style in a live action setting.

MacFarlane is essentially playing himself (or at least the persona we've come to know) in the character of Albert, a sheep farmer who desires nothing more than to escape the wild west where death is around every corner.  When his girlfriend Louise (Amanda Seyfried) leaves him for Foy (Neil Patrick Harris), the proprietor of a mustache grooming store, Albert is heartbroken until he meets cowgirl Anna (Charlize Theron) whose no-nonsense style he falls for right away.  Anna reciprocates Albert's feelings, but she is unfortunately involved in a bad marriage with the evil Clinch (Liam Neeson) who is none too pleased when he discovers that his wife is having relations with another man.

Throw in a bunch of fart jokes, Neil Patrick Harris pooping into a hat (scratch that -- multiple hats), Sarah Silverman having a certain male bodily fluid dripping off the side of her face, and many more low-level bathroom-related jabs that any eighth grader would find hilarious and you've got A Million Ways to Die in the West.

The RyMickey Rating:  D

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