Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Million Ways To Die In The West - Review

A Million Ways to Die in the West – Review

Director Seth MacFarlane who knocked it out of the park 2 years ago in the hilarious comedic movie “Ted” takes another turn in the Director’s chair to bring his humorous perspective on the old west in “A Million Ways to Die in the West”.

With an all-star cast including MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Neil Patrick Harris, Amanda Seyfried, Sarah Silverman and a few surprising cameos, the movie takes place in a small Arizona town in the year 1882 telling the story of a simple but honest man named “Albert”. “Albert” is a warm and personable man who still lives with his aging parents who also has established a pretty decent working life for himself by raising sheep. He also seemly has the attention of one of the town’s most eligible women named “Amanda”. But early on when “Albert” backs out of a gun fight “Amanda” realizes that she is not ready to settle down to a life with a shy cowardly sheep rancher for a husband. So she decides to break off their relationship to pursue a more dynamic bachelor in town named “Foy” who has a promising career as a mustache wax salesman. Funny!

With Albert feeling constantly depressed, his spirits are lifted a bit when a mysterious gorgeous woman comes to town who not only helps him feel better about himself, he also discovers he is starting to fall in love with her as well. What he doesn’t know is she is already married to one of the most notorious outlaws in the territory by the name of “Clinch” who has a bad temper and kills anyone who gets in his way. And with that measure of the story, predictably the film goes down the path you can already imagine of where “the good guy who gains his courage back also gets the girl in the end”. Trust me I didn’t ruin the ending; you already knew this was going to be the conclusion when you went into the theater. What is the real question is was the movie good enough for you to see?

Well, “AMWTDITW” has a few moments that were just gut busting hilarious and then there were other scenes that simply were way too contemporary to work its spin in a western film. And while the film is hardly laugh free, MacFarlane the Director seemed at times to rely way too much on crass humor to guide the film’s story with writing that made certain scenes fall flat in its delivery.

Still, there were more than ample enough times to chuckle throughout its 2 hour running time, but in the end “AMWTDITW” was in need of a lot better editing and a little less reliance of over the top one note gags that were feeble attempts of  masquerading a scene as something being smart with biting humor.

On a positive note this film showcased better than any film I have ever seen the area in and around New Mexico, Arizona and specifically Monument Valley. The cinematography in this movie was beyond breath taking; it was 2 hours of the most beautiful examples of the grandeur of nature in its simplest forms. The scenery of the canyons, mountains and desert in this movie are above anything you could imagine. It was simply exquisite to see that part of the country in amazingly rich digital detail. Uhhhhh.

“AMWTDITW” has some good moments, so I can’t say I wasn’t entertained, but if there was ever a time to go see a slightly less than adequate movie for ample enough chuckles and at the same time with a backdrop of sheer exquisite natural beauty, this is the one you drive and buy a ticket to see on that big screen. Uhhhhh.

2 – 3/4 Stars

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