Howdy ladies and gents, time for the second review in my comedy double of the day and this comes in the form of A Million Ways To Die In The West. This film I’ve been curious about for a while, but wasn’t overly hyped for because I wasn’t too fussed about Ted back in 2012. But I wanted to give Seth MacFarlane the benefit of the doubt especially because of the western genre that was being brought into play. So how does his second live-action film fare? Well read on and find out.
“In 1882 Arizona, courage-less sheep farmer Albert Stark loses his beloved girlfriend Louise as a result of his withdrawal from a duel. He soon meets Anna, through whom he discovers his confidence and his courage. After falling in love with her, Stark soon realizes his true potential when Anna’s husband, the infamous outlaw Clinch Leatherwood, arrives in town seeking retribution for Stark’s relationship with his wife.”
The story is decent enough, however it is not the funny adventure I think MacFarlane fans were hoping for. I think the main problems with the story are: 1) We’ve seen this type of thing before. 2) The film is too long. 3) There’s a lot of points where it feels like nothing is happening. 4) The jokes are too far apart from each other. And 5) The jokes aren’t always funny. Basically what we have is a western with modern pop culture references meshed together and it is a clash of styles, especially when you have a lot of western codes and conventions working but then you have dialogue that doesn’t belong in that era of time. Even Ted, a film I wasn’t too keen on had a more streamlined story and better sense of cohesion, plus that film had its jokes coming quick a fast as opposed to this film. As with MacFarlane’s previous material the jokes are unashamedly bold, crude and offensive in some way whether it be about race, sex, drugs or toilet humour. The overall laughs in this film feel like a dodgy Family Guy episode, sometimes of it works but most of it falls flat.
When it comes to the cast they are good, but none of the characters are that layered or interesting. Seth MacFarlane as Albert Stark is alright, he does an admirable job as the lead character, but Stark isn’t that likeable. He’s a coward, has no backbone and most of his jokes aren’t that funny. Charlize Theron as is good Anna, she is fun, a badass with a gun and is one of the best people in the film. Amanda Seyfried was alright as Louise but her character was so unlikable as she was such an air head and very superficial. Neil Patrick Harris as Foy was great, I’ve never been a fan of Harris, but he was one of the funniest people as he had some great dialogue and scenes. Giovanni Ribisi is pretty funny as Edward, the guy is so kind, innocent and oblivious to adult-based situations. Ribisi is one of the funnier people in the film and Sarah Silverman as Ruth is good too, she’s strange and does so many terrible things but still remains so happy about things. And finally Liam Neeson as Clinch Leatherwood was cool, rough and as badass as always, but compared to some of the other films in recent years I film like he was very underutilized.
One of the best aspects of the film is cameo appearances, two in particular are really, really good and if you enjoy your film references then you’ll love these individual moments when they come.
At least the presentation is good. The film looks pretty with the desert and mountain locations looking beautiful and the soundtrack by Joel McNeely is nice and subtle for the style of film that this is, it works best when it is loud and grand.
In conclusion A Million Ways To Die In The West has moments of fun and interest, but is long, boring and lacking any of the charm and comic timing that makes shows like Family Guy and American Dad so fun. Maybe the film wasn’t mean for me, I’m not sure, there are just a lot of things about this film that doesn’t come together which ultimately makes this film so underwhelming and forgettable.
Rating: 5.5/10 (Nowhere near as funny as it should be)
So what did you think A Million Ways To Die In The West? Did you love it or were you disappointed? Whatever your thoughts be sure to leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review yo. 😀