Cert: 15 Runtime: 116 mins Director: Seth McFarlane Cast: Seth McFarlane, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Giovanni Ribisi, Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman and Liam Neeson
You know what else can kill you? Doctors!
Ted became a great success for Seth McFarlane a few years ago, now he is giving the world his next project. A Million Ways to Die in the West, seems funny but the question is does the trailer show to much? First of all what is this film all about? If there’s one thing that timid sheep farmer Albert Stark (Seth MacFarlane) hates about 19th century Arizona, it’s all the death. People are getting killed all around him in bizarre and outlandish ways. So when he’s challenged to a gunfight, our lily-livered hero naturally chickens out. This so disgusts his fickle girlfriend (Amanda Seyfried) that she dumps him. But Albert’s luck changes when alluring stranger Anna (Charlize Theron) arrives in town and teaches him the art of gunplay. Love blossoms too, but Albert’s newfound bravery is put to the test when Anna’s evil outlaw husband (Liam Neeson) shows up bent on revenge!
Though “A Million Ways to Die in the West” has all the makings of a hilarious Comedy-Western; with a running time about thirty minutes too long this satirical comedy is funny, yet sadly forgettable.Being that this is a raunchy comedy set in the wild west, it is impossible not to compare it to the likes of “Blazing Saddles”, which is a death sentence in and of itself. And it doesn’t help that it has been wildly apparent for years how Seth MacFarlane desperately wishes to be proclaimed as this era’s Mel Brooks (which he is not). That said, I’m not saying that “A Million Ways to Die in the West” isn’t funny. Quite the contrary; it’s slightly funnier than “Ted”. Here’s the problem: With “Ted” we saw stretches of laugh-out-loud bits, followed by stretches of waiting to laugh moments. In “A Million Ways to Die in the West” there is a pretty consistent chuckle factor all the way through. The cleverness in the script’s “Family Guy” inspired crudeness and boundary pushing subject matter is quite apparent. But therein lies the problem. Even though I found this funnier than “Ted”, there was never that laugh-out-loud moment. And chuckle-a-minute comedies are usually not what people pay good money to see.
With pacing and cinematography that would be at home in any American Western during the John Ford era and a plethora of solid “old west” characters, it is obvious that MacFarlane holds the Western genre in high regard. But while
“A Million Ways to Die in the West” has the look of a proficient Western, and while the comedic aspect is consistently funnier than what most critics are giving it credit for, MacFarlane has a hard time integrating these two genre’s into one fully formed Comedy-Western; as throughout the film he clumsily switches back and forth between comedy and classic Western. This results in an ongoing feeling of tonal unevenness or genre wavering.While MacFarlane’s direction is hit or miss, his performance does steal the show. Who knew that MacFarlane could hold his own, as the charismatic lead, against this star studded cast? Well, probably a lot of people knew that, but it did take me by surprise.What it all comes down to is that for a comedy to reach a certain level of entertainment value, there needs to be at least a few memorable/quotable moments within it. As I alluded to earlier, MacFarlane’s sense of humour here will garner chuckles and the film itself is never really boring . However, there is nothing in “A Million Ways to Die in the West” that is memorable enough to quote back and forth between your friends post-viewing.