A Million Ways to Die in the West
Seth MacFarlane's second feature directorial effort after the breezy and hilarious Ted is a lumbering, only sporadically funny enterprise. It's not awful, and it does have its share of giggles, but it can't be classified as anything near a good movie. That's a kick in the balls, because some slicker editing and “Whoa, Nellie!” pulling back on the gross-out reins could've kept this thing closer to 90 minutes instead of nearly two hours and gotten rid of the moments that go too far in a bad way. Like Mel Brooks before him with the classic Blazing Saddles, MacFarlane tries to make a satiric Western that truly looks and feels like a Western. He gets the shots right via decent cinematography, but his tempo is way off. While Blazing Saddles had the exuberance of a grand western, MacFarlane's dependence on comic violence and often slow pacing feels like he's trying to make something like Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven in a funny way. It just doesn't work. MacFarlane plays Albert, a snarky, ahead-of-his-time sarcastic guy trying to survive in the great American West. He's trying to make a go of it as a sheep farmer, but he's terrible at it. He's always getting into trouble with his wise mouth, and his inability to stand up for himself in manly gunfights has earned the ire of his girlfriend, Louise (Amanda Seyfried). Charlize Theron is a nice presence as the new girl in town who gets Albert smiling again, but she isn't enough to make this worth seeing.