By Laurie Coker
Other than a paycheck, I can’t imagine why stars like Charlize Theron, Giovanni Ribisi, Sarah Silverman and Liam Neeson would sign on to do a film like A Million Ways to Die in the West, written, directed and starred in by Seth Macfarlane. Granted, I am nowhere near the target audience, but then I do enjoy a worthwhile western, good quality gags and clever comedy, so why not? Why can’t someone with Macfarlane’s comic ability create something like that? Instead, we see impressive talent wasted, trashy, tasteless antics and a predictable, uninteresting plotline.
Macfarlane plays Albert, the nerd of the west, a sheep farmer who nearly bores his girl friend, Louis (Amanda Seyfried) to death. He does manage to lull her into breaking up with him and a scene later she shows up hooked up with Foy (Neil Patrick Harris), the local mustache-ier. Meanwhile, sinister, sleazy outlaw, Clinch’s (Neeson) beautiful wife, Ann (Theron), turns Albert’s head, taking him from whiny yellow-belly to confident gentleman. Additionally, Albert’s buddy Edward (Ribisi) is patiently wooing a industrious prostitute (Silverman), working hard so they can marry. They’re Christians, so they’re waiting to have sex.
Macfarlane pulled off quality humor with, Ted, and stays, semi-successful at reigning in his farty, frequently repellent and ridiculous humor, for his television shows. With such an impressive cast, Macfarlane should have it made and they do work the heck out of this lackluster script, showing true frontier spirit and grit, but I found NOTHING, and I mean N-O-T-H-I-N-G funny about anything, at all, in the whole affair. Silverman and Ribisi offer a few light moments, and the performances, as always, with these actors, are exceptional, but McFarlane’s script is downright dumb, totally terrible, absolutely asinine and dull as a hitching post outside a church when the red light shines at the whorehouse.
While it is easy to see what Macfarlane tries to do with his tale – it is true there are a million ways to die in the west – he leaves out one clear and painful way to meet one’s maker – monotony and boredom! I haven’t wanted to leave a film so badly since the last Focker’s film and that too earned an F from me. I pity the people who pay hard-earned, high-dollar prices for this low-brow, uninspiring and UNFUNNY film. Even Macfarlane looks bored most of the time.