Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

A Million Ways To Die In The West

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Albert is a hapless sheep farmer whose girlfriend has just left him.
Unhappy, he wallows around in his pyjamas and vows to leave his Arizonian territory for better things. Until the day a mysterious beautiful blonde enters the village.
Albert is in love again.
And in trouble.
Because the blonde brings with her company which could be the end of Albert. And his sheep…

 

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Cast

Seth MacFarlane – Albert

Charlize Theron – Anna

Amanda Seyfried – Louise

Liam Neeson – Clinch

Sarah Silverman – Ruth

Giovani Ribisi – Edward

Neil Patrick Harris – Foy

Christopher Hagen – George Stark

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High Expectations – Low Outcome

Seth MacFarlane. Genius behind Family Guy; a cartoon which has entertained me, inspired me, and had me laughing to the point of almost peeing. And his cinematic creation Ted – which had me howling with laughter at the character’s dialogue. So when the trailer for A Million Ways To Die In The West hit cinemas, I was ready. Geared up for a giggle-fest of hilarious antics that I would revel in.
I couldn’t wait.

…it was alright I suppose.

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What I assumed would have me in stitches throughout its entire screen time turned out to be okay. But not overly hysterical. In fact, A Million Ways To Die In The West flowed like a humourous cartoon; it had a very simple story, and a light way of telling it. The way it flowed was incredibly swift – introducing one character after another, and unfolding their stories immediately. The movie opens with a lot of slapstick, I.E. Seth running on to the set and spouting filthy jokes before a few fall-over gags and sexual references.
But something was missing.

This movie followed Seth’s style of humour; him speaking a serious line before dropping a racial reference in a sarcastic-serious manner, etc.
But although the dialogue was delievered well, it remained painfully obvious that these were a bunch of Hollywood funny people trying to ‘put on a show’ – when really, they should have just stuck to the stand-up routine of their daily lives. This was the issue – the movie was a tame, irrelevant love story of which there was no point in creating. A canvass for Seth and his crew to splat jokes on, ultimately voicing their funny one-liner’s, but they probably would have been better off condensing it into an hour’s Family Guy episode.

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This movie reminded me of some sort of charity performance; like when famous newsreaders or straight-laced television presenters dress up and do stupid things on stage to raise money (Comic Relief, etc.) – that said (and because it was created by the hilarious Mr. MacFarlane), I found a few bits laugh-out-loud funny:

Albert’s drunk horseriding was so strange I howled with laughter

Him animating his shadow in front of another man so that the other man’s shadow was giving his shadow a blow job

“People die at the fair” – enough said

The funfair game ‘Runaway Slave’ in which players must shoot and knock down the black people to win a prize had most of the audience roaring with laughter

Ruth lifts up her dress to Edward to which he responds, “whoa. It looks like a firecracker wrapped in roast beef”.
(I fucking HOWLED).

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Thing is, I think I was the only person who did howl. Many one-liner’s and gags were lost on the audience completely; moments I enjoyed and recognised as hilarious got no reception from anyone else in the auditorium. Which was a shame, as it would have made the movie experience a lot different.

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Charlize Theron

Throughout the movie, it seemed Charlize was having a wail of a time (I don’t blame her, filming with Seth must have been enjoyable). But I wondered if the scenes which saw her laughing loudly were real. The man is a comedian as well as everything else (writer, actor, sings in Baritone) so I can imagine being on set with him is bloody hilarious.

During scenes where Albert and Anna were sharing a joke together and she burst out laughing, I couldn’t help wondering if her response was genuine.
She actually looked as though she was loving the moment, Seth coming out with dialogue that actually made her ‘LOL’.
It looked as though they were having fun which was good. Aside from some wicked costume changes, Charlize fits into the cast perfectly; it all seems to be in the eyes with her – glaring her way through scenes to create the right atmosphere.

She did good.

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Crazy Cameos

This movie sees various Hollywood names pop up throughout; most of which I had no idea would be there, creating a nice element of surprise.
Ewan McGregor and Ryan Reynolds were the first up, followed by Gilbert Gottfried, and one or two Family Guy talents.
But then came the biggun’…

Christopher Lloyd.
Yes – ‘Doc’ from Back To The Future makes a brief appearance as an elderly gentleman fixing up his glowing car in the back of a barn. (can you guess the reference there?). Albert walks in on him as the man spins round and yells, “GREAT SCOTT!” in that classic raspy old voice.
The audience erupted in familiar laughter which was added to the atmosphere nicely. I actually couldn’t believe they had brought him in to do it, but he was a welcome addition all the same.

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Before Their Time

I am unsure if the directors intended to take the piss out of themselves, but the script turned out to be highly contradicting. At one point, Albert has a scene where he sits at a table moaning about how dysfunctional the West is. Yet the script turned out to have a few flaws too – language-wise.
Not to split hairs – although I try to note everything in a movie – but the word “douche” pops up at one stage. Which I thought odd, as that wasn’t even a commonly used word when I was a youngster and that was early 90’s – this was the 1880’s.
The movie continued to use modern language and references here and there, even though it was set in the 1800’s. I wondered if they did this on purpose. It was another element which addd to the story’s slack consistency, hence it becoming a canvass for the comedians to slap their ‘funny paint’ on.

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Voice To Face

It was nice to be able to put the face to the voice and see Seth MacFarlane in action on the big screen. I know he doesn’t keep himself hidden from the world exactly, but the fact he was actually acting on screen instead of playing funny voices into a microphone for his cartoons was interesting; we get to hear the exact same humour – from a physical form standing there in a cowboy hat.

Some of Seth’s scenes were played out nice and solidly (script, acting) – he didn’t twat around for his entire screen time which is kind of what I anticipated. So the production overall was a bit empty, but he played his part well and brought Albert to the screren as best as any actor could.
And as well as relishing seeing the man’s beautiful face, I loved seeing those cute deep brown eyes. There is something about his eyes that is gorgeous; cute, slightly off-course and slanted. I spent a good percentage of the movie wanting to hug the bastard.

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A Million Ways To Die In The West was funny. But it wasn’t hilarious, and turned out quite different to what I expected.
It is a very simple story delivered effortlessly by the cast, and watchable.
The team are great, but one or two (mainly Silverman and Ribisi) step up and prove that they are excellent at dry comedy / stand-up, by delivering the most simple of lines in a way that makes the audience laugh out loud.

By no means as brilliant as I thought it would be, but worth a watch if you fancy an hour or so of cheap laughs.

 

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5/10

 

 

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This entry was posted on May 30, 2014 by .
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