Friday, May 30, 2014

A Million Ways to Die in the West Review - 2 Stars

Seth MacFarlane has delivered a lot of laughs in his career between his animated series “Family Guy” and the very funny 2012 hit comedy “Ted.”  So expectations run high for “A Million Ways to Die in the West” which looks a lot like the great comedy classic “Blazing Saddles”–the story, the backgrounds, even the music and graphic titles look like “Blazing Saddles.”  In a bow to classic comedies from Woody Allen to Bob Hope, MacFarlane plays a cowardly sheep rancher living in a tough town.  As the story begins his girlfriend Amanda Seyfried dumps him for the town mustache store proprietor played by Neil Patrick Harris who clearly channels the great Harvey Korman in this role.  Meanwhile ├╝ber mean gunslinger Liam Neeson rides into town with his fed up wife played by Charlize Theron.  They take separate paths for a couple of days and we learn she’s had it up to here with her gunslinger outlaw husband.  She meets McFarlane and helps him get over his crush on  Seyfried while teaching him how to shoot and defend himself.  A running gag has people dying right and left in outrageously gruesome ways.   MacFarlane wise cracks in contemporary language about the difficulty of life in the age Hollywood movies once honored.  Every now and then he throws in a line or a situation meant to shock or even gross out the audience.  The problem with this kind of comedy includes the trailers that make you want to see it.  They have already put some of the funniest stuff out in ads for all to see.  The finished product feels about a half hour too long.  It has laughs but it also has long dead spots and a plot that wonders around while bringing the energy level down down down.  Sidekicks include Giovanni Ribisi and Sarah Silverman.  Neither gets a role that does them justice. Does it deliver what it promises?  Old West Comedy not quite hilarious.  Is it entertaining?  Long dead spots.  Is it worth the price of admission?  Will be on cable by autumn.