Released 5/30/14 Rated: R
Overall, as a comedy, I didn’t care much for it. It wasn’t really all that funny. The best part about it were the cameos. Christopher Lloyd, Ryan Reynolds, Jamie Foxx, and apparently Ewan McGregor, who I missed.
My husband and I were expecting better acting from MacFarlane, and better jokes all around. But what MacFarlane does do well is a type of commentary on certain things. Like Sarah Silverman’s character Ruth. She is a prostitute, but she also has a boyfriend, and they’re Christian, and they’re going to wait until they get married to have sex. Ruth’s boss even asks Edward (boyfriend) if he’s really okay with her job. Because that’s what it is: a job. Ruth works for a living. And while that job title is looked down upon today, it wasn’t back then. What killed me, and happens to hit this point home, was this scene: Edward is taking Ruth out to a picnic lunch, Boss Lady says “Ruth, so-and-so is coming by later for anal,” and Ruth’s immediate reactions is “Ooh honey! We can afford that new watch you want!” Edward tries to figure out what time he should have Ruth back by, and Boss Lady goes “I don’t know, Ed. This isn’t exactly a dentist’s office. He’s going to come by whenever he feels like sticking his penis in something.” / “Five o’clock it is then!” Edward and Ruth were the cutest thing about this movie.
The exception to my commentary point being the film’s title of how there are a million different ways to die in the west where MacFarlane’s character went on a tirade for about five minutes listing things. I felt as though they stuck a mondern-day person back in the old west and he went “This is why this place sucks: 1… 2… 3…” A few jokes in the movie, actually, felt like modern humor in an old west setting. It takes the viewer out of the movie. Going back to the title, not too many people actually died in the film. I thought this movie was going to have more to do with people dying, and not the love story it turned out to be. I’m not complaining about the plot, but I do feel like they told us, instead of showed us, how many ways people can die in the west. If they had balanced that out a little more I think it would have been better.
Liam Neeson was amazing as always. Charlize Theron was terrific, and really seemed to be having a good time. Sarah Silverman was cute as can be. Loved Neil Patrick Harris’s song “If you’ve only got a mustache;” he was great. They could have fleshed out Amanda Seyfried’s character a little more. The only reason I knew to brand her as a gold digger was because of the poster. There was maybe one overlookable instance in the movie that said anything to that effect.
The music was pretty impressive, though. That part of the movie felt authentic. He’s got a great team writing music and songs. Evidence of this can also be seen on MacFarlane’s musical number when he hosted the Oscars in 2013. For his fan base, they just saw it as funny, a boob song. But he actually wasn’t poking fun at women; it was another commentary on Hollywood and how women are asked to go topless a lot more than men are asked to drop their pants and show frontal nudity. And every actress the camera cut to during the song for a “reaction shot” agreed to participate in the video clip and joke. That entire bit was prerecorded, and it came off perfectly. Catchy too.