The Family Guy and Ted creator Seth MacFarlane finds a million ways for this comedy to die slowly – despite starting with such a promising bang.
MacFarlane, who stars in front of the camera for the first time in a major role, and also directs, provides a Western-themed comedy that – for the first hour at least – is a lot more than a movie with ‘the best gags in the trailer’.
But sadly the man best known for the voices of Peter, Brian and Stewie Griffin in hit animated comedy The Family Guy, doesn’t know when to bow out, and just when you think it’s all over – it unnecessarily drags on for another half hour.
Unfortunately MacFarlane runs out of his trademark gags during that period, and A Million Ways goes from potentially solid comedy – to ending with a bit of a whimper.
It’s a long way from a disaster though, as cowardly Arizona-based sheep farmer Albert Stark (MacFarlane) befriends mysterious new woman in town Anna (Charlize Theron) – who is helping him to try and get his old girlfriend Louise (Amanda Seyfried) back – in this 1880’s set comedy-adventure.
But unbeknown to Albert, Anna is in a tumultuous marriage to notorious gunslinging outlaw Clinch Leatherwood (Liam Neeson) – and he will be coming through town any day to whisk her back.
And when the pair fall in love, this will lead to the ultimate showdown – and test of Albert’s manhood – when the inevitable confrontation with Clinch takes place.
But while there’s still much to admire – MacFarlane and Theron’s chemistry is pretty good despite heavy reliance an expletives – its good gags are sadly shoe-horned in at the start, and the stellar cast never really get a chance to bring their ‘A’ game.
And like a famous locomotive on a wild-west railroad – there’s simply not enough coal on the fire to keep this from gradually running out of steam.
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Cast: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried, Giovanni Ribisi, Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman & Wes Studi
Running Time: 1hr 55mins
Director: Seth MacFarlane [youtube id=”LhmP8UYtipA” width=”600″ height=”350″]