Claremore Daily Progress

Community News

June 4, 2014

‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ in Claremore

(Continued)

CLAREMORE —

When Albert wimps out of a gunfight (for what we gather is not the first time), Albert loses Louise, who dumps him for Foy (Neil Patrick Harris), a manly fellow who operates the town’s moustachery. 
Mustaches, or “moustaches” as they were spelled back in the day, were a pretty big deal.
Albert reasons the only way to win Louise back is to actually win a gunfight, and here to help him practice is his new friend Anna (played by Charlize Theron), a lovely, enigmatic sharpshooter who’s lying low while she waits for her outlaw husband (the ever-growling Liam Neeson) and their gang to rejoin her. 
Without the restrictions normally imposed upon him in writing for television, MacFarlane is free to have each character — and I do mean each character — express every thought in the crudest, most blunt way possible, complete with 21st-century profanity and slang. 
Once the shock value wears off however, the incongruity of Old West people swearing like sailors loses some of its “humor.”
Most of the gags that do work, like describing Ruth’s prostitute activities in embarrassingly frank, businesslike terms, are beaten into the ground through repetition. Even the musical number is uncharacteristically flat by MacFarlane’s usual “standards.”
In still other areas, the film is under-written and sloppy. The main character is poorly defined, being both a loudmouth and a timid pansy all at once.  For all his skills as a voice actor, MacFarlane doesn’t quite have the physical presence or charisma to work as a leading man. His nemesis, the mustache man, is said to be a terrible jerk, but as far as we know the only “bad” thing he’s ever done is date Albert’s ex-girlfriend. 
Liam Neeson is pure window dressing here, as his murderous outlaw character isn’t given anything funny to do — something that would have been an interesting change for Neeson, had he been allowed to parody in full the types of characters he typically portrays.

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Community News
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