“I can give her wrapped candies” – Foy
Set in the 1880s a young Sheep herder falls for a mysterious young woman who is new to town, while dealing with the harsh life of the wild west.
Seth Macfarlane’s hilarious second feature film delivers everything you would expect from the man who created Family Guy and 2012’s Ted. More hard R-rated raunchiness and references that fly at you as fast as a quick drawing cowboy.
The film much like Ted plays out like an extended skit (or cut away) from an episode of Family Guy, this time based in the old west. Lucky for Macfarlane he has plenty of material to mine from the popular westerns of yesteryear. The plot however differs from most westerns and centres on a cowardly Sheep herder, Albert (Seth Macfarlane), who has just been dumped by his girlfriend, Louise (Amanda Seyfried). To make matters worse she has moved on with a smug local business owner, Foy, cheekily played by Neil Patrick Harris. One night while drinking his miseries away with his friend Edward (Giovanni Ribisi), Albert meets Anna (Charlize Theron). Anna is keeping low in town while her husband, the evil cowboy Clinch (Liam Neeson) is away robbing other towns. Albert and Anna form a friendship over their mutual hatred of the wild west.
The wild west in this film is a dangerous place to live. People die while transporting ice, going to the fair, having a drink at the bar, or just being the mayor. Macfarlane uses the west to deliver high quantities of post-modern humour looking back at how absurd day to day life was for a commoner in the 1880s. Macfarlane succeeds for the most part, with a quick-witted screenplay mixed with great site gags. Macfarlane’s direction has improved since the quite bland looking Ted in 2012. The west looks beautiful and the director of photography shows a great love for the western genre. Macfarlane puts himself front and centre for this film, writer, director and actor. I believe this is Macfarlane’s big screen debut as he only provided the voice of the teddy bear in Ted. Unfortunately Macfarlane’s screen presence isn’t quite there yet and he struggles when next to acting heavy weights like Charlize Theron and Liam Neeson. Macfarlane has a sitcom appeal and perhaps isn’t quite ready for the big screen. Time will tell whether he succeeds in a big screen career, but with this and 2012’s Ted he is in the right direction.
Rating: 3.5 Stars