The person who seemed to be having the most fun in the theater where I saw Writer/Director/Producer Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways To Die In The West, was the onscreen actress Charlize Theron, who was playing down to the rest of the cast with a wry twinkle in her eye, indicating she knew this was just a lot of nonsensical fun…at least, for her.
For me, not so much…although I did appreciate the light slumber the first part of the film induced. That’s not to say there weren’t a few chuckles later and even a few good scenes toward the end, especially the one provided by the Indians. But, though it tried to be, this was no Blazing Saddles. To paraphrase the old political rebuke, “I’ve studied with Mel Brooks and Seth MacFarlane is no Mel Brooks…at least, not yet.”
Much ado about nothing sums it up. The main weakness was the script. No story to care about and no characters to care about. Cinematographer Michael Barrett made beautiful images, but a comedy doesn’t want or need beautiful images. It’s supposed to look quirky. The nice look sent the wrong message.
The overreach is best summed up when Neil Patrick Harris’s character has to defecate in bystanders’ hats. Gross, yet funny. But, then, to show what’s in the hats! A mess, to be sure.
On the other hand, if you enjoyed Neighbors, you’ll probably like this film, as well.
As for me, I give it a 3 out of 5…and that’s mostly for Charlize Theron, Sarah Silverman and Giovanni Ribisi...three, who know how to be funny.