A Million Ways to Die in the West (R)
Michael I: This week, I’m reviewing ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’, a raunchy comedy from the mind of Seth McFarlane, the creator of ‘Family Guy’ and ‘Ted.’
McFarlane is live-action this time around as Albert, a lowly sheep farmer in the Wild West just trying to avoid danger at every corner. Along with McFarlane on this ride is a all-star cast of actors: Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson, Neil Patrick Harris, Giovanni Ribisi, Sarah Silverman … even that guy that played Cheddar in 8 Mile – and no, this isn’t some ensemble cast vying for a Best Picture nomination!
Theron and Neeson play Anna and Clinch, bandits by trade, and disagreeable husband and wife. Early in the movie, their posse splits up with Anna moseying into Albert’s town just as his girlfriend Louise (Seyfried) breaks up with the cowardly farmer. In an effort to win Louise back, Albert challenges her new love, Foy (NPH), to a gun fight. However Albert’s the worst shot in the West and during the blossoming of a beautiful friendship, Anna teaches him how to shoot.
Things get complicated from there with multiple love triangles, grotesque bar fights and scatalogical humor. Just like his last movie, ‘Ted’, McFarlane spares no expense when attempting to wrap an hour of toilet humor around 25 minutes of drama. Luckily I enjoy that comedy, so ‘Million’ comes out like bacon-wrapped scallion and not a pig in lipstick.
Helping lift the comedic load is the relationship between Ribisi’s Edward and Silverman’s Ruth. It’s the old cliche of opposites attract with Edward as a God-fearing Christian and Ruth as his prostitute love interest. They’re head-over-heels for each other and it’s one of the fun subplots in ‘Million.’
The other enjoyable perk to this movie are all of the cameos. Keep your eyes open for some nice surprises throughout ‘Million’ and wait until post-credits for some racist payback featuring a neo-Western badass.
I have a bookmark to an article written a few years ago that explains why the Western film genre is dead. They may be right, but I love seeing it on the big screen. Ever since the opening sequence in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, I’ve appreciated watching stars race horses against the orange desert background.
This is surely not a movie that will save the Western genre, but it’s enjoyable enough for me to give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. It’s unfortunate that I saw several versions of the trailer prior to watching, so avoid them to keep as many jokes fresh as possible.
A Million Ways to Die in the West image
Director: Seth MacFarlane
Actors: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried, Giovanni Ribisi, Sarah Silverman, Neil Patrick Harris
Writers: Seth MacFarlane, Alex Sulkin, Wellesley Wild
Runtime: 116 minutes
Theatrical Release Date: May. 30, 2014