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A Sweet Love Story Told Poorly in "A Million Ways to Die in the West"

Critics were not kind to A Million Ways to Die in the West.  It has an unimpressive score on both Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes, but even more notably, it has a mediocre audience rating, too; even the most hated movies with a built-in fanbase can usually count on disproportionate support from certain parts of the Internet.

I didn't think it was a bad movie.  It's kind of predictable, but that's never been a problem for me before, and it's a little too long, but not oppressively so.  There's some solid jokes in it and excellent performances from its supporting cast.

One of my biggest complaints, actually, has to do with the way they botch the love story.  Not the one between Seth MacFarlane and Charlize Theron - the other one between Sarah Silverman and Giovanni Ribisi.

The idea is that Silverman plays one of the town's most treasured prostitutes, and Ribisi is a gentle, soft-spoken guy who loves her.  He knows full well what Silverman does for a living, and he wants to marry her, anyway.

The movie plays up this relationship for laughs, which is probably the worst direction they could have taken it.  Every time they cut to one of these characters, there's some graphic reference to the sex act that Silverman was recently completing.  Sometimes its paired with sound effects or maybe a splash of special effects semen - you know, in case you didn't get it.

(The joke is that she fucks other guys.  For money.  Because she's a prostitute.)

I really hated these gags.  The fact that they weren't funny was bad enough, but even worse - they bring a snotty and cold attitude to what is actually a sweet and warm relationship.

I can't help but be utterly charmed by Ribisi's character.  He's so in love with Silverman that he really doesn't care what she does for a living, and he's willing to engage in a relationship that transcends societal sexual mores.  It's one of the most mature takes on love that I've seen in mainstream American movies in the last few years.  So why does the movie have to shit all over it every chance it gets?

Million Ways has a lot of problems, but I feel like they could have fixed a lot of them by just cutting out a lot of this bullshit.  You'd be able to cull maybe 15 minutes of the film's overly-long runtime and show off two sincere, but still funny, characters at the same time.