Movie Reviews

'A Million Ways to Die in the West': Seth MacFarlane, all the time

By Wang DexianMovies - 16 June 2014 12:00 AM | Updated 22 December 2014

'A Million Ways to Die in the West': Seth MacFarlane, all the time

Our Rating

2/5 Stars

After the success of his lovable foul-mouthed teddy bear movie ‘Ted’ (he wrote, directed and acted), things were looking up for Seth MacFarlane for a bit. He hosted the Oscars and… that turned out to mixed reviews.

Now, the creator of ‘Family Guy’ has a brand new movie vehicle, ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’.

MacFarlane pulls double duty on the flick, playing the lead and also directing.

His role this time is Albert Stark, a sheep farmer in 1882. In the town of Old Stump, Arizona, he is somewhat of an anomaly – a guy who doesn’t particularly care for gunfight and bar-room brawls.

His reluctant and distaste for combat costs him his girlfriend, Louise (Amanda Seyfried), who dumps him after he backs out of a gun duel.

Enter another woman, Anna (Charlize Theron), and the two fall in love – except she is wife of Clinch Leatherwood (Liam Neeson), a cowboy with a peculiar Irish accent and the meanest outlaw in the west, who is on an expedition to get more gold.

MacFarlane’s sense of humour has always been rather random and absurd. ‘A Million Ways’ is no different as he frequently conjures the weirdest scenarios in which to place his characters and then milks those situations for laughs.

HIT-AND-MISS JOKES

Many of the jokes here revolve around making fun of racism, sexism, technology and more. It may be slightly taboo for some, but MacFarlane is brave enough to pull some of them off. Still, they don’t often hit the mark, but when they do, it’s hilarious and to uproarious effect.

MacFarlane scores at a much higher rate with his gags. Many of them are purely gross-out humour involving bowel movements, but some of them are pop culture-derived, featuring cameos from other memorable movies and shows. It’s clear that MacFarlane is a big fan of them and that is quite delightful.

It is somewhat of a problem that MacFarlane is in almost every scene of the movie, even if this is his pet project where he is free to work as he pleases. But having him as the lead role is detrimental because he just doesn’t have the acting chops to bring out the tiny bits of dramatic flair.

Co-star Charlize Theron does a good job balancing out the number of times MacFarlane’s jokes misfire, and has decent chemistry with him, but it is not quite enough to overcome this problem.

For a nearly two-hour movie, you’ll probably walk out remembering just a tiny number of the gags and pop-culture references made, and you will wonder if there could have been more to all this.

‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ is now showing in cinemas

A Million Ways To Die In The West

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A Million Ways To Die In The West
  • A Million Ways To Die In The West

    (2014)
  • Rated
    NC16 /
    Genre
    Comedy, Western
  • Language
    Eng
  • (3 Reviews)