COMEDY; 1hr 56min
STARRING: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson, Giovanni Ribisi, Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman
Like ducks to water: Theron and MacFarlane
With artless cheer, Seth MacFarlane sets out to do “the general depressing awfulness” of the bloodthirsty American Wild West what he did to teddy bears everywhere with 2012’s game-changing Ted. When we meet lily-livered sheep farmer Albert (MacFarlane), he’s in a decidedly bad way. Dumped by his girlfriend (Seyfried), who smoothly replaces him with the smarmy Moustachery proprietor (Harris), Albert is inconsolable, even to his BFF, Edward (Ribisi), and Edward’s devout prostitute fiancée, Ruth (Silverman). Then he meets Anna (Theron), who is button-bright and sassy but regrettably burdened — although Albert doesn’t know it — with a psycho-bandit husband (Neeson).
And off we go, playing silly buggers with folklore. “My worst fear is to OD on a recreational drug,” Albert confides to Anna while nibbling on a dope-laced cookie. Producer, director, co-writer and leading man MacFarlane has more than that to worry about in a profanity-laced tall tale whose gross-out gags sometimes don’t know when to quit. There are plenty of positives for ballast, though: the catchy dialogue is fresh out of a contempo sitcom, the cast’s comic timing tirelessly flies and the left-field feel revels, Blazing Saddles–style, in the sublimely ridiculous.