“A Million Ways To Die In The West”
Director: Seth MacFarlane
Screenwriters: Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild
Cast: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris, Giovanni Ribisi, Sarah Silverman, Liam Neeson
Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes
Rating: R for strong crude and sexual content, language throughout, some violence and drug material
Studio: Universal Pictures
After Credits Scene? Yes
“A Million Ways To Die In The West” follows Albert (Seth MacFarlane), a sheep farmer whom befriends Anna (Charlize Theron) as he needs to prep for a gunfight in order to win the love of his ex-girlfriend (Amanda Seyfried).
Now the film is directed, written, produced, and starring Seth MacFarlane and is coming off of a tremendous success with 2012’s “Ted.” A lot is on his shoulders with this film to see how he can handle a movie all on his own. Sadly, “A Million Ways To Die In The West” falls flat on it’s face.
First, let me pay some respect to this film. MacFarlane does a great job with setting up the film just right. All the sets look and feel authentic to the 19th century time period and the shots are framed beautifully. This, paired up with the great musical score by Joel McNeely, captures the feel of a Western really well and I definitely have to give props for that.
However a comedy, while it needs a lot of elements to make it work, has one thing that is absolutely mandatory in order to be considered successful — humor. Without funny jokes or clever humor, a comedy automatically falls flat. That’s exactly where this movie fails. It’s just not funny. Sure, there are a few jokes here and there that were really funny, but they were very few and extremely far between. MacFarlane has the capabilities of being extremely funny that he has proven time and time again with his work on “Family Guy” and in “Ted.” This just felt like he resorted to stereotypical gags and toilet jokes to carry the film in the vein of your average comedy starring Adam Sandler.
The failure is even harder to handle when there’s such a talented cast. MacFarlane assembled a great list of actors and actresses like Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, and Neil Patrick Harris to work alongside him and they all try their hardest. Hell, even MacFarlane is trying with his performance. It’s clear that everyone on screen was giving this film their all, but the material was just not good enough.
Also, unlike “Ted,” the movie is incredibly inconsistent in regards to story and tone. There’s a basic premise here for the first half or so that just gets completely muddled by a string of unnecessary fart, poop, and piss jokes and (strangely) an overcrowding of characters. The film tries to juggle various stories involving MacFarlane’s character winning his ex’s love, Neeson’s character going on a vengeance spree, and Giovanni Ribisi’s character trying to have sex with Sarah Silverman’s character that it eventually just gets cluttered and messy.
The worst of all of this is that with all of the jokes that fall flat and the bloated story, the movie is just really boring. There is absolutely no reason why this movie should be nearly two hours in length. The film is 10 minutes longer than “Ted” yet somehow manages to feel like its an hour longer. MacFarlane really did screw up the pacing with it to the point that I was getting restless waiting for it to end — and that was when there was still half an hour to go.
“A Million Ways To Die In The West” could have been really funny. MacFarlane knows how to make something really funny. However, the film just ended up being a boring, sloppy, and self-indulgent piece that overall resulted in a major disappointment. With the amount of comedies out in theaters right now that deliver in spades, there’s no reason to waste time on this one. Hell, “Neighbors” is still out in theaters. Watch that instead.
Overall, I give “A Million Ways To Die In The West” a D+.
What did you guys think of “A Million Ways To Die In The West?” Are you a fan of Seth MacFarlane? Are you still excited for “Ted 2?” Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
“A Million Ways To Die In The West” is now playing in theaters.
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