A Million Ways to Die in the West is Seth MacFarlane’s follow up to Ted and it is funny, in parts.
In Million Ways MacFarlane plays Albert, a common farmer who is dumped by his upper-class girlfriend Louise (Amanda Seyfried). Albert does not handle it well and sets out to win her back. He meets Anna (Charlize Theron) who instantly befriends him and tries to help him win Louise back. Unknown to Albert though, Anna’s husband Clinch (Liam Neeson) is the most feared and vicious gunslinger in the west. Comedy hi-jinx ensues.
MacFarlane’s well established humour is prevalent across the entire film, with the addition of crude, toilet humour thrown in the mix. The jokes come in fast and in abundance in the film and target various comedic tastes, but whether or not they work for the viewer will depend on the viewer’s said tastes.
MacFarlane is at his strongest when his Family-Guy-style humour is on display, but everything else has been seen before and it only sometimes works in the film. MacFarlane in the lead does a passable job, but ideally the film would have probably benefited to keep him behind the scenes in a writing/directing role and left the lead open to a more formidable comedy actor.
Thankfully some of his co-stars in the film are brilliant. Giovanni Ribisi and Sarah Silverman are hilarious as the virgin with the prostitute girlfriend (who are waiting to marry before they consummate). Neil Patrick Harris is also a scene-stealer as the ‘moustachery’ owner (which is a salon for men’s moustaches). Unfortunately Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson and Amanda Seyfried do not bring much to the picture, aside for being there for the necessary plot points.
The plot itself is very basic and unoriginal. This can be fine as long as the comedy holds up, but in this case it only does in certain parts of the film. This inconsistency in laughs is the film’s biggest flaw. MacFarlane throws every joke in the book at us rather than working on specific timing and delivery of the comedy to be in sync with the plot of the film. It’s this lack of balance which is the film’s big flaw.
A Million Ways to Die in the West will appeal to fans of MacFarlane’s past work, but moviegoers not so familiar with his style of humour and your more conservative audiences might struggle, as MacFarlane does not hold anything back in the film.
Charlize Theron had to wear a wig for this movie as she had her head buzzed for Mad Max: Fury Road (2015).