Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried, Giovanni Ribisi, Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman
Directed by: Seth MacFarlane
Written by: Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 56 min
From the same team that brought us Ted back in 2012, we get a western/comedy set in 1882, told from a 21st century perspective. A Million Ways to Die in the West is essentially the writing teams comedic musings on the old wild west, and for the most part when it sticks to that premise, this movie has some genuine laughs to deliver.
Sadly though it doesn’t, as we’re also treated to a dull romance story with Seth MacFarlane cast as the leading man. But with all due respect to Mr. MacFarlane, a very talented voice actor and writer, leading man material he is not (at least not yet), and he brings a certain amount baggage as a performer too. Well known for his occasionally mean-spirited brand of cleverly crude satirical humor, Seth MacFarlane simply doesn’t have the acting chops to go toe to toe with the likes of Charlize Theron and make the romance believable.
Without that romance angle however, this film wouldn’t really have a story to anchor its humor too. But I’m not sure A Million Ways to Die in the West needed that kind of structure. At nearly two hours, it’s way longer than it needed to be, so it might have worked better if the writing team focused more on their observations of the old west. They could then have presented their ideas in the movie as a series of comedic skits.
Don’t go into this expecting a joke every two seconds, as this film also tries to work a romantic angle. Also, don’t expect this to be anything like Blazing Saddles (1974) because apart from both being comedies set in the old west, they are not similar at all.
This is well shot and the Arizona landscape looks fantastic, so I suggest a matinée showing if you can’t wait to rent the DVD. At home a HD viewing is recommended.
Best Moment: << Spoilers! >>
Neil Patrick Harris actually had the funniest moment as far as I’m concerned. We’ve seen it a million times before – a character is surreptitiously fed laxatives resulting in some good old-fashioned toilet humor. How Neil Patrick Harris pulls off this scene is hilarious though, especially when he reaches for a second hat and his hand is repeatedly batted away by the gentleman who clearly doesn’t want it used as a toilet!