Movie Reviews: A Million Ways to Die in the West




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     Universal (1 hr. 56 min.)
     A cowardly farmer falls for the mysterious woman whose married to a notorious gunslinger.
     Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Neil Patrick Harris, Giovanni Ribisi
Bottom Line:

J.R. Johnson

Sometimes things just don’t mix. No matter how hard you try, no matter how many changes you make, sometimes it just isn’t meant to be. In “A Million Ways to Die in the West,” Seth McFarlane does his best to knit a comedy together with an old-fashioned western, and just like the many the few that have tried before him, they don’t mix.

In his second feature film, McFarlane plays Albert, a spineless farmer in a small town going nowhere fast. When a mysterious woman enters the town and befriends him, Albert finds himself in a horrible predicament when she reveals she’s the wife of an infamous outlaw. Albert has to transform into a hero in a matter of days if he hopes to survive. But of course, it’s not as easy of a transition as he hopes it to be.

Before anything else, humor is put to the forefront of the movie. That means sacrificing context, continuity and history. The setting of the movie plays a relatively decent part in how the story unfolds, but it’s contained in a setting that makes it as useful as a stage play.

Everything is used as a segway that points back to McFarlane’s jokes. Most of them based off tired tropes from the west.

McFarlane does have his moments, he is a funny guy, but most of his jokes feel like they’re being thrown out from a scrapped western stand-up routine.

In several instances in the film, McFarlane just runs off long jokes that are really hit or miss. The rest of the comedic attempts roll off like they’re written for one of his many popular television shows, they come in speedy a exposition or with quick witted references.

The main plot of the story is almost agonizingly simple leaving little room for supporting cast like Neil Patrick-Harris to do much. They’re lucky to be involved in a gag or ridiculous filthy joke that doesn’t fell like a random bid for laughs. It all boils down to how McFarlane guides the story, and it’s just not strong or a fresh illustration to help it separate itself from other western parodies.

“A Million Ways to Die in the West” falls short of becoming one of the first films to mix an oil and water like pairing of genres successfully. It’s peppered with raunchy gags and one-liners, but not enough to make the entire movie bearable.

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