With the success of Family Guy and 2012’s Ted, it was inevitable that Hollywood would let Seth McFarlane not only create but to anchor another movie. The result is “A Million Ways to Die in the West”. As one might imagine, western is not exactly the most popular genre these days, let alone a comedic one with bits of gore. So this latest offering by Universal Pictures is taking a gamble.
In “A Million Ways to Die in the West”, Seth McFarlane takes centre stage – playing a hopeless sheep farmer in the late 19th century, called Albert. He lives with his parents somewhere on the western frontier, which he hates. His only enjoyment is his girlfriend Louise, but gets quickly dumped by her (Amanda Seyfried) in the beginning of the film. Heartbroken, he commits to trying to win his ex back. This is further fuelled once he finds out that she started seeing obnoxious “douche” Foy, who owns the local “moustachery” (Neil Patrick Harris). When Albert commits to a duel with Foy, he takes shooting lessons from a new towner Anna (Charlize Theron), who quickly becomes his love interest. There is only one problem, she happens to be married to the “most dangeours killer” Clinch (Liam Neeson).
Now the story sounds like it’s a simple premise, and it is, but all the subplots are what helps this movie. If you are wondering why that title has been picked for this film – it’s because there really are a lot of ways to die in the west, and the audience certainly get to see some of these bloody deaths in detail.
The comedy is full on, whether you like it or not is another question. There are lots of pop culture references cleverly blended in with the jokes. There are also plenty of politically incorrect jokes that represent the views of 19th century folks. The audience get a taste of it when Albert visits a fair, at which point you’ll either laugh uncomfortably or cringe. While there are some laugh out loud scenes, there is equally the same amount of gross out jokes that will force you to shift uncomfortably in your seat.
Without revealing too much, there is a drug induced hallucination scene involving Albert, that should not have been included or at least handled better. It disrupts the flow and lets the film down.
When Seth McFarlane first appears, it seems like he doesn’t really belong in the film, especially when such great talents as Charlize Theron, Giovanni Ribisi and Liam Neeson come on screen. Even Sarah Silverman seems to be cast well. However, as the movie goes on, his style of acting can be forgiven because “A Million Ways to Die in the West” doesn’t quite fit the typical western anyway.
The wide shots of the western frontier (or in this case: New Mexico) are superb, even if you hate this film, at least you’ll appreciate the views. Also, make sure to pay attention otherwise you might miss out on some of the best cameos. One in particular is absolute gold!
“A Million Ways to Die in the West” is definitely not for everyone. If you get offended or grossed out easily, I strongly suggest skipping this one. If you love comedies, particularly this brand (the Seth McFarlane brand) of humour than you’ll enjoy his latest offering. I rate it 6 out of 10 stars.
A Million Ways to Die in the West is out in cinemas now.