After A Million Ways to Die in the West, not to mention the Oscars, MacFarlane really needed a hit. While not an entire flop, this sequel didn’t really surpass the surprise and humor of the original. It has its moments, and definitely has a plot, but it is weaker and relies heavily on vignettes to fill in the bulk of the movie, not unlike Family Guy.
Mark Wahlberg (The Fighter) hangs onto his character with abandon, rightly or wrongly. It isn’t an award-winning performance, but it had no holes. Opposite him, Amanda Seyfried (While We’re Young) pulls off a wonderfully intelligent and strong woman. As she continues to mature on screen, her range is increasing nicely. Again, not an award winner, but she fully commits and has fun while doing it.
Giovanni Ribisi (Out of the Furnace) is cookie cutter as the creepy villain. He can do better and so can MacFarlane.
Patrick Warburton and Michael Dorn probably had the most fun with this story, getting to go to extremes and even poke fun at themselves in wonderful ways. They are really more distraction than valuable to the story, but given the paucity of things to hang onto, I enjoyed their bits.
Morgan Freeman (Driving Miss Daisy), not to mention a few other cameos, are gratuitous by design. I wish that forgave them, but it really doesn’t. The roles aren’t important or good enough to really make them shine. As distractions and entre acts they work, but they also disrupt the flow of the film and the relationships.
I love the lack of boundaries for MacFarlane, and he had a bit more control of his timing in this film, but the story wasn’t strong enough to carry the silly for me. You may well feel different, but generally it isn’t as good as the original and most folks agree on that.