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USA 2014
Directed by
Seth MacFarlane
116 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Angie Fox
0.5 stars

Million Ways To Die In The West, A

Synopsis: Albert Stark (Seth MacFarlane), a discontented sheep farmer living in the Wild West of the 1880s, is dumped by his vacuous girlfriend (Amanda Seyfried) in favour of moustachioed ponce, Foy (Neil Patrick Harris). After he challenges Foy to a duel, mysterious newcomer, Anna (Charlize Theron), steps in to save his hide. That is, until her husband, gun-slinging outlaw Clinch (Liam Neeson) rides into town and the blooming romance between Albert and Anna, much like the film’s attempted humour, seems doomed to descend the same slippery slope down the toilet.

As a self-aware spoof on the classical Hollywood Western the obvious point of comparison for Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways To Die In The West is the widely-loved comedy, Blazing Saddles.  Clearly as a writer-director MacFarlane is no Mel Brooks and in his big screen debut as an actor he is certainly no Gene Wilder either. In fact, with this, MacFarlane’s second foray into cinema, it’s safe to say the creator of Family Guy, and the 2012 cult film, Ted, is no MacFarlane either.

As with his past productions, in A Million Ways To Die In The West MacFarlane relies heavily on his trademark gross-out humour that he pushes to the limit and beyond. Unfortunately for the viewer, unlike his other productions MacFarlane is no longer hiding behind animated characters. While the humour in his most recent offering is just as vulgar as it was in Ted, the toilet jokes and misogyny were tempered by the fact that they emerged from the mouth of a cute, cuddly soft toy. There was something bizarrely hilarious about seeing a teddy bear dry hump a colleague at the supermarket checkout or snort lines of cocaine.  Conversely, watching the contents of Doogie Howser’s soiled pants spill out into the street is not outrageous, or even offensive, it’s just disgusting and a little sad.

Unlike Ted, which was a comic appraisal of the man-child syndrome, A Million Ways To Die In The West isn’t about anything and lengthy diatribes about the harshness of life on the frontier (hence the film’s title) don’t make it so. Whilst funny, these soliliquies would have been better saved for the stand-up comedy circuit.  Other comedic opportunities from the likes of Sarah Silverman and Giovanni Ribisi, who play a Christian couple saving themselves for marriage despite Silverman being the town whore, are squandered through repetition.

Liam Neeson and Charlize Theron are also wasted in this self-indulgent, one-joke farting contest. Rent Ted, you’ll have a much better night.




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