How To Lose The West
A Million Ways To Die In The West
Stars: Seth MacFarlane (who also co-wrote and co-produced this film), Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris, Giovanni Ribisi, Sarah Silverman, Christopher Hagen, Rex Linn and Wes Studi
Narrator: Rex Linn
Composer: Joel McNeel
Cinematography: Michael Barrett
Rating: R (adult film)
Running Length: 110 minutes
Seth MacFarlane (also a producer of television‘s “Cosmos“), stars, co-wrote and co-produced this movie. However, he looses the attention of the audience with side jokes and potty humor. Just when a scene is going well, drop in not one, not two, but three jokes of body functions and continue this until it is nausea time. There is a wealth of talent in the film, but one wonders if they read the entire script.
As the story goes, Albert (Seth MacFarlane) is a sheep farmer in the American West and he’s in love with Louise (Amanda Seyfried). Albert would rather talk than take action against bullies. Enter Louise’s new boyfriend, Foy (a scene-stealing Neil Patrick Harris), who has a moustache store. Albert is befriended by Anna (Charlize Theron) the wife of wicked gunslinger, Clinch (another scene-stealer, Liam Neeson). Anna periodically runs away from Clinch only to be caught again. Albert’s friends in town are the pious Edward (Giovanni Ribisi) and his girlfriend, the prostitute, Ruth (Sarah Silverman.) Two running jokes in the film are Foy’s love for his moustache and Edward’s total acceptance of Ruth’s occupation at the local saloon. The action begins when Clinch goes after Albert for supposedly stealing money and his wife. Albert gets help from Anna learning to fire a gun and from Cochise (Wes Studi) and his braves for courage. It is the in-between sections, the connection between scenes, where the writer decides on an idea (usually a body function) and puts that idea into unexpected territory. Halfway through the movie, you can tell when and where this will happen. To use an old saying, “Less is more.” Production values are OK and there is even a dog sidekick. The end of the film seems similar to something from “Murder, She Wrote.”
Acting is average here and the whole production is very close to a traveling stage production of that age. The only thing missing are the girls holding scene changing cards. The actors seem to be having fun as though getting to do something they normally wouldn't do (reference Sarah Silverman’s role). Liam Neeson is making a name for himself as an action figure now and shows his stuff as Clinch, the gunman. Theron is easy-going here and does well with Seth, and one wonders what was written and what is off the cuff. Neil Patrick Harris, now on Broadway in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” does a musical number about a moustache that is a highlight. MacFarlane, at times seems to recite his dialogue, and at other times, goes along well with little dialogue and plenty of action humor. This movie has everything but a cattle stampede, in fact, it is a series of skits, tied together as a script with MacFarlane as the stand-up comic.
All in all, “A Million Ways To Die In The West” is about 60 percent interesting and 40 percent not.
Copyright 2014 Marie Asner
For another film review of a western comedy, see the following: