A Million Ways to Die in the West Review: He’s A Western Guy!

Photo Credit:http://www.ifc.com/fix/2014/01/a-million-ways-to-die-in-the-west-red-band-trailer

Look, Seth MacFarlane has a very particular brand of humor. It’s definitely not high-brow, but it’s not really low-brow either (at least not all the time). Regardless, if you like Family Guy and Ted, you will probably find enough jokes to laugh at in A Million Ways to Die in the West.

Yes, it’s full of MacFarlane’s signature lazy jokes, but there are just enough clever ones to keep you on your toes. The writer/director drops a present day version of himself in 1882 as sheep farmer Albert Stark. He’s bad at his job, newly single, and despises living in the Old West.

Albert seemingly has a heightened sense of reality, as if he knows there are much better ways to live. This is as much a boon to the film as it is its downfall. This foresight into what the Old West was lends the movie its funny bone. Too bad MacFarlane is well aware of that and milks this cow until every last drop is squeezed out.

But A Million Ways never fully commits to the parody it seems like it wants to be, unlike the superior Western comedy Blazing Saddles. Instead, we get a half thought out love story amongst a bunch of gruesome jokes about death (although a number of them do land).

Lucky enough for MacFarlane, several of his supporting players are on point. Charlize Theron is charming and appropriately badass. Meanwhile, such talents as Liam Neeson, Sarah Silverman, and Neil Patrick Harris give such hammy performances that the movie feels much less serious than it may have otherwise.

But this film still doesn’t feel as inspired as Ted. MacFarlane’s talking teddy bear comedy felt like an idea the director was excited about. A Million Ways to Die in the West feels like a rushed follow up with a few decent ideas that couldn’t be written into this past season of Family Guy. Still, there are enough laughs that it isn’t A Million Ways to Kill Your Movie CareerGrade: C+

By Matt Dougherty

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