A Million Ways to Die in the West Review

Audience Anticipation: 2.5, I think a lot of people where spurned after Ted but other’s did really enjoy that movie so the crowd was mixed where I went and saw it.

The chant:

Seth
Seth
Seth
Macfarlane(x3)

has been whirring around in my head for the past few days like a frat bro telling me to ‘chug chug chug’ and I am unsure why.

Seth Macfarlane is a singer, writer, director and now he has thrown of the shackles of animation and ripped himself out of the stuffing of Ted to show you he can act in real life too. I was expecting his acting debut to be a feature length cameo reminiscent of the awkwardness that was Quentin Tarantino in Django Unchained but I was surprised at how well he fitted in. I mean it is still Seth Macfarlane but there are glimmers of him slipping into the character of ‘Albert’ the hapless sheep farmer when it comes to the more poignant scenes from the film

To start off this movie is a major step up from Ted in the right direction of it being an actual viable comedy. What I mean by that whilst there is the usual humour you would expect there is a certain maturity to a lot of his jokes in this which make it much more durable then Ted. I think the next thing he needs to work on is the actual narrative structure because the pacing was off and it was all so contrived story wise from the very beginning. There is a lot of material to send up in a western and he plots out the most basic of elements to move the story forward and that is where it drags at 116 minutes because it becomes static in places when he shifts from comedy to serious for those moments that are meant to have more heart but leave a sense of ennui.

If you are a fan of his style of comedy then this is a very entertaining movie but even if you aren’t it is so chock full of gags that one of them is bound to get some form of vague amusement across your face. Seth Macfarlane’s shtick of constant chatter and his voice service him well here because I do think he’s a funny man and when he gets going it reminds me of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson doing their thing which is inherently funny regardless of the film around them and for me the same can be said here for Seth. I also, as I said earlier, think there were a number of clever, well thought out gags that didn’t earn much of a laugh which I felt was a shame because I think it was lost on the audience a bit.

The premise is simple, Albert the humble sheep herder loses his girlfriend (Amanda Seyfried) to the moustached Foy (Neil Patrick Harris) and is so hung up on her that he cannot continue on with his pointless existence until he meets Anna (Charlize Theron) who mysteriously turns up in town one day and they strike up an unlikely relationship when it turns out her husband is the notorious bandit Clinch. (Liam Neeson)

The casting is great and Charlize in particular really got into the approach this movie is going for. I think the only problem in terms of characters were the under use of side characters so a lot of big names like Liam Neeson aren’t left with much material to work with as the majority of the film focuses on Albert and Charlize so with a little more fleshing out of the supporting cast then that is where an improvement to the story could have been put in to fill in the gaps of non-movement.

It is still a Seth Macfarlane movie and so without the restraints of television he has put in his usual staple of crass humour but within that mix where the movie shines is one cameo in particular which roused the audience no end and it’s worth the price of the admission ticket alone, I thought it was that good. I was still smiling back to it every few minutes as the film continued. There are a couple of other good spots to look out for as well.

Audience Buzz: 3.5, at the end everyone seemed to find it more engaging and funnier than Ted and a step in the right direction for Seth’s future films.

I thought it was a pleasant distraction that was numbed by its plot. A tighter script would have done it a world of good but I still come away from it feeling positive.

I’m off to listen to his album Music is Better than Words.

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2 Responses

  1. Jake

    Don’t think we saw the same movie frankly.

    Macfarlane is absolutely the most unfunny person I think I have ever seen. But then I didn’t last through more than about 20 minutes of this piece of junk before I had to lurch to the exit to vomit. There are no jokes, just chatter and probably the filthiest mouths I can imagine…filth ought to at least be a little funny or it’s just filth. My only gratification was that the rest of the theater audience were younger and I didn’t catch a lot of laughing going on there either. My biggest disappointment was that I couldn’t demand my money back from the box office.

    I should have been more suspicious when seeing…Starring Seth Macfarlane, Produced by Seth Macfarlane, Written by Seth Macfarlane and Directed by Seth Macfarlane…and ego maniacal rant if there ever was one. But all that is hidden in the wonderful opening music and cinematography…after that ran we all could have walked toward the exits.

    It was so unfunny it was embarrassing, especially I felt, for the other folks in the film. They should all be taken out and whipped severely for signing up to participate in such garbage…particularly Charlize Theron. Simply tragic, all around.

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