Home Dana Neacsu A Million Ways Seth Doesn’t Get It

A Million Ways Seth Doesn’t Get It

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Seth MacFerlain got himself a great little film d’auteur. He’s the producer, one of the co-writers, the main thespian, and the director. And as with Mel Brooks’  movies, everybody showed up. There is Sarah Silverman the cute innocent whore, and there is Giovanni Ribisi as her bullock of a fiance. There is Liam Neeson as the cruel bandit, and Charlize Theron as his gold-heart killing bride. There is Neil Patrick Harris as the evil businessman, and of course, Seth himself as the sweet eyed sheep herder.

The story is easy to comprehend: After cowardly Albert (Seth MacFerlane) backs out of a gunfight because he’s never fired his gun, his fickle girlfriend (Amanda Seyfried) leaves him for another man — the proprietor (the excellent Neil Patrick Harris) of the town’s foremost moustache emporium. When he accidentally saves the life of a mysterious and beautiful woman (Charlize Theron), she helps him find his courage. Along the way we learn about the American West’s lack of running water and indoor plumbing, and decent music and dancing halls. We also watch a man’s discovery of a vagina – and Sarah makes the best of  it.

[embedyt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3viQHsBFc4[/embedyt]But there is the eunuchs scene in History of the World Part I which is so much better (visually and as a gig).

[embedyt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5VsYT5vbWE[/embedyt]There is social satire in Seth’s Million, but it is weak. People are stupid for Seth in a very predictable way. Take a look how stupid humanity is for Mel. You laugh with Seth. You cringe with Mel.

[embedyt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IF2RYhNhBdw[/embedyt]For Seth, teachers like all other money-making or wage-earning characters are mediocre and largely incompetent. For Mel, they were just underpaid or unemployed. You laugh knowingly with both but with Mel you feel a bit more sophisticated because his jokes require you to know something about something.  Seth only asks you to remember people who’ve crossed your path.

You may think that I don’t know my movies, because Blazing Saddles would have been a more appropriate Brooks film to compare with MacFarlane’s attempt at social satire, but Blazing Saddles is in a class by itself. It goes to our ulcerous past. Brooks wants us to look into our soul and see how wretched it is and how much washing it needs.

[embedyt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7QF32mxftE[/embedyt]Blazing Saddles doesn’t play footsie under the table with its audience. Blazing Saddles says that it don’t get no kicks from Champagne, but watch the context.

A Million Ways never dreamed of ever getting any kicks from Champagne or anything else except state fair fare, sort of fried butter on a stick. Which I hear is both tasty and nasty, but gives you little to talk about.

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BY DANA NEACSU

SOUR GRAPES: A Million Ways Seth Doesn’t Get It (His Kicks from Champagne)

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