Seth MacFarlane’s new film, “A Million Ways to Die in the West” opens across the nation today with an all-star cast. MacFarlane, known for the television series “Family Guy” and the hit movie “Ted” continues with his style of humor in this new feature film.
MacFarlane plays Albert in the Old West who is a cowardly sheep farmer and deeply in love with Louise (Amanda Seyfried). When she dumps Albert for the local mustache proprietor (Neil Patrick Harris), Albert falls into a deep depression. The only way out of that psychological abyss is through another woman. He meets Anna (Charlize Theron) who unfortunately happens to be married to Clinch (Liam Neeson), the notorious gun-slinger in the West. Albert’s cowardly ways must change if he and his town is to survive, but keep in mind, there are at least a million ways to die in the west!
“A Million Ways to Die in the West” is a creatively written film that places itself in a typical Wild West movie genre. MacFarlane brings the current day vernacular and knowledge into this film, sprinkling it into the dialogue to create humor. The lines are quickly paced and the predictable gags do make you laugh. But here is the catch. MacFarlane’s style is also to repeatedly use scattalogical humor throughout the film. The fart jokes and other bodily fluid references become a bit old. And there’s plenty of other raunchy and completely politically incorrect jokes as well.
The characters in this film are utterly over-the-top and they are meant to be. The local prostitute (Sarah Silverman) who is “saving herself for marriage” to her boyfriend who treats her job as just another work day is funny. Again, the raunchiness level is extreme, but it is a unique perspective. The outlaw Clinch is one awful man with a cold heart. There’s plenty of blood-shed, complete with gun fights and broken bottle stabbings to satisfy the goriness level in this film. The special effects with mutilations and death are a bit jarring, but the situations under which these occur do have some humorous merit,believe it or not. And you have to remember, the name of the movie is “A Million Ways to Die in the West.”
This is a star-studded cast with Charlize Theron taking on her first comedic role. Neil Patrick Harris steals the show with his ridiculous mustache shop and his interactions with MacFarlane. Harris has the old-fashioned physical humor reminiscent of silent films of a bygone era. He says more with his expressions and body language than a single line of dialogue could ever convey. The movie stars seems to make guest appearances in this film much like they did in the skits during this year’s Academy Award ceremony hosted by MacFarlane. Gilbert Gottfried, Christopher Lloyd, Jamie Foxx, and even Ryan Reynolds have very little screen time, but their appearances get the job done.
“A Million Ways to Die in the West” is a typical Seth MacFarlane film that will appeal to the younger crowds. (Over 18, please!) It’s quite raunchy much along the lines of MacFarlane’s previous film “Ted.” Please also be warned that there are many drug and sexual references along with the typical potty humor. If you enjoy this type of comedy, you’re going to appreciate the creativity and outrageous perspective of this film. Otherwise, I’d skip it or wait for the DVD and save your money.