Director: Seth MacFarlane
Writers: Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild
Cast: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson and Neil Patrick Harris
“A Million Ways to Die in the West” proves that Seth MacFarlane is out of ideas. Whether it’s a giant musical number about moustaches or people shitting in cowboy hats, this is the kind of shit that must keep Mel Brooks up at night. How would it feel to know that four decades after one of your best ideas, you’d have hacks continually trying to one up it? The plot for those that need it centers around a lowly sheep herder named Albert. He loses his girlfriend after chickening out in a fight. Cut to a mysterious blonde showing up in town, as she teaches Albert how to fight and shoot. Liam Neeson appears as the most Irish person in America this side of Frank McCourt.
While the supporting cast and well-placed cameo works their ass off to make the film work, it’s nothing more than an extended episode of “Family Guy”. Quick jokes about runaway slaves being used for target practice, people getting stoned, the most inane musical number, quick movies references and then a quick contrived ending that sprints to the fade to black. Don’t even get me started on the one joke that Sarah Silverman has to cram down the audience’s throats for the duration of the film. If you captured the entire arc of the character in the trailers and TV spots, then why is she in the film so damn much? Hell, this movie makes me long for the complexity of a talking teddy bear.
The jokes work in that base appeal of not seeing something coming. Then, it keeps coming and you start to feel bad that you found the first joke funny. Some of the quick quips are entertaining and I appreciate seeing my favorite mid 80s mad scientist showing up in the Old West. That being said, the movie wants to frame a narrative around those moments without ever doing any of the heavy lifting. This is lazy cinema meant to entertain the 13 year old kid mowing lawns in your neighbor. Be an adult and do something productive with your time. This movie is a waste.
RELEASE DATE: 05/30/2014