05/31/2014 07:37 pm ET Updated Jul 31, 2014

A Million Ways To Die In the West Is DOA

Movie Review Jackie K Cooper
A Million Ways To Die In the West (Universal Pictures)

Seth MacFarlane is the creative force behind the new movie A Million Ways To Die In the West. He co-wrote it, produced it, directed it and stars in it. Therefore any praise should go to him, and any complaints should also be aimed his way. The praises may be few but the complaints are going to be many. This movie is a flop and a half, and it shouldn't be.

MacFarlane had a chance to make a funny, funny film and he blew it. Instead of using the comic humor he possesses, he deigned to thrown in every sophomoric joke and situation possible. Instead of using the comic resources of his cast, he submerged them in puerile situations and bodily function humor.

At the center of the film is Albert (MacFarlane), a likable sheep rancher who has found a reason for happiness. Her name is Louise (Amanda Seyfried). Alas Louise decides to dump Albert in favor of the smooth and slick Foy (Neil Patrick Harris). With a mustache business all his own he can provide Louise with some of the pleasures of life.

This plunges Albert into the depths of despair, but just when all is bleak he meets Anna (Charlize Theron). Anna is the wife of the notorious and ferocious outlaw named Clinch (Liam Neesom). He is off terrorizing another town, leaving Anna alone to her own devices. This allows her and Albert to strike up an instant friendship, while she conveniently forgets to tell him she is married.

This plot framework should be plenty substantial, but MacFarlane the director tears it down and stomps it to bits in order to give us boatloads of profanity, gross situations and and an endless supply of dull comic routines. To show how desperate he is in trying to inject some humor into his story, MacFarlane enlists the aid of Bill Mahr and Gibert Gottfried who appear as dull and duller.

There are some good points to this movie. The musical score evokes the triumphant spirit of the old west, and the photography shows the majesty of the setting. Plus you can just stand and stare at Theron and be transfixed by her beauty. She even manages to give us a bit of a character in Anna, but not much. MacFarlane fills her mouth with such foul language that we never get a real sense of who she is.

The movie is rated R for profanity, violence and brief nudity.

MacFarlane manages to show us there are a million and one ways to die in the west. The extra one is being bored to death.

I scored A Million Ways To Die In the West a fatal 4 out of 10.

Jackie K Cooper