A Million Ways To Die In The West

A Million Ways to Die in the West

Director: Seth MacFarlane

Writers: Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild

Cast: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson, Giovanni Ribisi, Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman, Christopher Hagen, Wes Studi, Matt Clark, Evan Jones, Aaron McPherson, Rex Linn, Brett Rickaby, Alex Borstein, Jamie Foxx, Christopher Lloyd, Gilbert Gottfried, Ewan McGregor

Synopsis: As a cowardly farmer begins to fall for the mysterious new woman in town, he must put his new-found courage to the test when her husband, a notorious gun-slinger, announces his arrival.

MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, language throughout, some violence and drug material

Stevennix2001's Rating:

8.4 / 10

Pros:


- Hilariously controversial spoof movie that's cleverly written, while still being funny.

- Well paced

- Supporting actors are good in their perspective roles

- The sets are authentic

- Jokes are funny

- Love story is set up well

Cons:


- Seth MacFarlane's acting never comes off as genuine, as it almost kills the love story that was set up for his character.

- Humor can be borderline offensive, as it might turn off some audiences. (i.e. Jokes regarding pedophilia, rape, racism, religion and quite a few sexist humor towards women as well)

- Graphic death scenes are a bit excessive

- Cutaway gags can sometimes distract from the story.

The Good. The Bad. The Ugly, and the Seth MacFarlane cutaway gags....Yeehaw!

Out of all the comedies that I've ever seen in my life, this one is probably one of the few that I've found myself at a loss for words. On the one hand, I'd have to say this is arguably the best movie parody that I've seen in years. But on the other hand, I'd be lying if I said there weren't some flaws about this movie.

"A Million Ways to Die in the West" is essentially a satirical film that pokes fun at all the cliches of western movies, while mocking all the various hardships that people actually had to put up with during those times. Most of the jokes tend to be hit or miss depending on your taste in humor.

The best way to describe the humor, in "A Million Ways to Die in the West", is that it's very similar to what you'd find in Seth MacFarlane's animated sitcom, "Family Guy." The humor goes above and beyond to offend just about everyone and anyone it can, as there's a barrage of racial slurs, ethnic stereotypes, comedic graphic death scenes, pedophilia jokes and sexist humor that I'm sure someone is going to be offended by it. However, if you're used to this kind of perverse humor that Seth brings to the table, then it shouldn't bother you that much. However, I'll simply put it to all my readers like this. If you're a huge fan of Seth MacFarlane's controversially perverse humor and cutaway gags, then you might find this movie right up your alley. But if you hate that sort of humor, then chances are you're not going to like this movie.

Personally, I found the humor to be very funny, and delightfully entertaining. In an era, where most parodies have become nothing more than a series of non related skits that reference modern pop culture, it's refreshing to see one that's actually well put together. Not only does "A Million Ways to Die in the West" prove that you can still tell a cohesive story arc in a parody, but it also proves that you can still be funny doing it as well. In a lot of ways, this film reminded me so much of the old days back when Mel Brooks directed various parodies like "Young Frankenstein", "Blazing Saddles" and "History of the World Part 1", to name a few.

Granted, Seth's humor tends to take things a bit farther than Mel Brooks ever did, as I don't recall any of his parodies featuring pedophilia and rape jokes. But then again, Mel did make a regular comedy that featured a song entitled, "Springtime for Hitler", if anyone recalls. However, as long as you can get past the controversial humor, then you should be fine watching this film. Although, the death scenes can get a bit excessive at times, but it never ruins the film.

As far as references go, there's still a couple that I'm sure most mainstream audiences will recognize. Some of them ranging from old school references, like we saw in the trailer with Christopher Lloyd reprising his role as Doc Brown from the "Back to the Future" franchise, to even a cameo by Jamie Foxx, who reprises his role as a flanderized version of Django from "Django Unchained."

With the exception of Seth MacFarlane, each actor plays their parts rather well. Liam Neeson plays a great intimidating antagonist, while Neil Patrick Harris manages to play the likable douchebag that taunts Seth's character throughout the film.

Meanwhile, Sarah Silverman plays the town whore, who gets paid to sleep with all the town's inhabitants, but she refuses to sleep with her virgin fiancé because of their strong Christian beliefs about premarital relations. Yes, Seth even takes a cheap shot at religion too, but you have to give Seth credit for one thing. He's an equal opportunity offender, as it seems like he has no problem making jokes that are either extremely racist towards African Americans and Indians, nor does he mind cracking a joke or two that are downright sexist towards women. Nope, he goes above and beyond to push the comedy, in this feature, that you almost have to admire that about him.

In fact, this probably would've been my favorite comedy of this year if it had not been for one small problem....Seth's acting. Don't get me wrong, he's a great voice actor, as I'd him put up there with some of the best voice actors of all time like Mel Blanc, Tara Strong, Kevin Conroy, and etc. However, when it comes to live action films, his face is very emotionless half the time, which makes it hard to take what he says seriously. For example, there's a scene where he confesses how much he's in love with Charlize Theron's character, yet when you watch his facial expressions and body language, it doesn't seem to be all that genuine. If anything, this film probably would've been better served if Seth cast someone else to play the lead character instead, as it's plainly obvious Seth MacFarlane can't carry a live action film on his own.

And in a lot of ways, that's kind of sad. The love story between Charlize's character and Seth's protagonist is well written, but it's ruined by the fact that Seth can never seem to pull off his character.

To be frank, I wouldn't say that "A Million Ways to Die in the West" is the best comedy that I've seen all year, as that honor still goes to "Neighbors." However, it's not too bad, as long as you can get past Seth's controversially perverse humor, and the cutaway gags that tend to distract from the story sometimes.

Overall, I'd say this film is definitely worth checking out if you're into Seth MacFarlane's style of comedy. However, if you're not a big fan of his style of work, then chances are nothing about this film is going to change your mind about him.


© 2014 Steven Escareno

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