The West is the best

The West is the best

MacFarlane’s farce is No. 1 with a bullet for fans of the genre

By Ian Murphy 06/05/2014

A Million Ways to Die In the West
Directed by Seth MacFarlane  
Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Neil Patrick Harris
Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, language throughout, some violence and drug material
1 hr. 56 min.

Western comedies are not common. There is really no way around the fact that this film is a direct homage to the Mel Brooks classic Blazing Saddles, so suck it. Seth MacFarlane himself would cop to it. Stay through the end credits if you don’t believe me. That being said, there is no reason this film shouldn’t stand on its own merit as a well-written, well-directed epic comedy, provided you agree that the creator of Family Guy is capable of a well-written, well-directed epic comedy.

Albert (Seth MacFarlane) is a cowardly sheep farmer who ducks out of any sort of confrontation with stuttering, witty quips rather than the violent gun fighting that seems to be the norm in the Old West. This causes his girlfriend, Louise (Amanda Seyfried), to leave him and take up with the local mustache aficionado and business owner Foy (Neil Patrick Harris). Despondent, Albert gives up on ever being happy until he meets a mysterious and beautiful stranger named Anna (Charlize Theron) who teaches him to be the confident hero he was meant to be. But she has a mystery herself; she is the wife of Clinch (Liam Neeson), the most notorious gunslinger this side of Rock Ridge.

Meanwhile, in between the jokes and drama that surround the characters, everyone is dying. As Albert points out on several occasions, everything about the Old West is terrible and everything exists only to kill you. Wild animals, Indians, disease, rattlesnakes, paper cuts, pretty much anything. The title of the movie is very accurate.

Drugs, sex and also dicks — this movie has it all. For those of you who like the aforementioned subjects, this is a great movie. If, however you do not appreciate the madcap genius that is the twisted, drunken gray matter of Seth MacFarlane’s brain then perhaps you should find a vanilla PG-13 comedy that won’t offend. A Million Ways delivers exactly what you should expect from a movie with no regard for social decorum. Fans of Family Guy and Ted, as the commercial clearly states, will love this Wild West bonanza.

And while it breaks no new ground when it comes to offensive comedy, it still delivers laughs by the wagon load (if that is even a thing besides a bad pun). The best parts were definitely not given away in the red band trailer, with the exception of the damn Back to the Future bit, which would have been funny as hell if it wasn’t leaked beforehand — something MacFarlane has mentioned his displeasure about. (Which maybe shouldn’t have been leaked here.) Go see this movie. It is funny as hell, and you will be a better person for having seen it.


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