Having found TED (2012) incredibly overrated, I didn’t expect much from Seth McFarlane’s new live action effort. Better than I thought, A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST is still only mildly amusing at best (I expected it to be tedious).
Albert (Seth McFarlane) is a bit of a loser, a cowardly sheep-farmer, he is not exactly cut out for “The Wild West.” Having had his heart broken when the love of his life Louise (Amanda Seyfried) breaks it off with him, he’s ready to pack it all in.
But when Anna (Charlize Theron) comes to town, she takes him under her wing to help win Louise back. Along the way they fall in love. Of course, Albert is completely unaware that Anna is married to Clinch (Liam Neeson), the fastest gun and most despicable thief in the west.
The actual plot is generic and by-the-numbers and clearly just an excuse to a hang a series of raunchy or offensive jokes. This wouldn’t be a problem if the jokes were consistently funny. They are not. At least half of them fall completely flat or illicit a mild chuckle at best.
It’s not all bad, the ones that do work, work well and I did find myself laughing quite a bit, but not enough to warrant an almost 2 hour run time. Sometimes less is more and I became more engrossed with pointing out in my mind which jokes should have been left on the cutting room floor than enjoying the ones that worked.
On another note, having been inundated with so many different trailers for the film, they pretty much show you all the best jokes including a BACK TO THE FUTURE III gag that, had I not known was coming, would have been comedy gold. I know Universal needs to sell the film and fill the seats, but I have to sit through the movie too and it felt like I had already seen most of it with very few new surprises.
Personally, I would wait until A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST comes out on video to see it. But if you feel compelled to shell out your hard earned cash, I suggest going opening weekend when you’ll have an audience who will probably strain to laugh as much as possible to convince themselves that this is what passes for mainstream comedy.