Movie Reviews

Published on May 30th, 2014 | by Ryan Guerra

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A Million Ways To Die In The West

 

In 2012, comedy writer/director/actor Seth MacFarlane created and introduced the world to basically a “live action” episode of his hit show Family Guy with the film Ted. I originally thought that film looked stupid. However as absurd as it was, it was still hilarious. Something about a talking “grown up” Teddy Bear was charming enough, but also required you to completely suspend disbelief and just go with whatever ridiculousness what was shown on screen.  It was the success of that film that caused me to have higher expectations for MacFarlane’s new film A Million Ways to Die in the West. Sadly, he is a victim of his own success.

Seth MacFarlane takes on the “leading man” role this time around and unfortunately, he is not a leading man. His constant diatribes about how the west can kill you are delivered in his typical long-winded over intelligent style. Only they feel out of place as the rest of the characters and film do not take themselves remotely serious.  Truthfully, I found myself not caring about him at all and was more interested in the other characters. Neil Patrick Harris is a standout as a “mustache man” who steals MacFarlane’s girlfriend and the rest of the cast pull off their cookie cutter western characters well.

That is not to say that this film is not funny. It has its funny parts. However they are far between and few are memorable. Because they try to play this movie a bit more “straight” than Ted, it just doesn’t work as well. Perhaps it is because we have seen it all from MacFarlane before and it is just more of the same.

In the end, if you are a MacFarlane fan and go into this film will medium to low expectations, you won’t be disappointed and will probably enjoy this film. But if you are looking for the next best comedy of the summer or something to make you constantly laugh, best you go check out Neighbors as this film is not near as funny.

2 ½ stars out of 5.

 

 

Second Review by Chris Daniels

Seth MacFarlane steps out of the animation booth and in front of the camera for what can best be described as a film you should watch in an altered state of mind.

A Million Ways to Die in the West is period piece written, directed, produced by, and starring Seth MacFarlane.  If you are a fan of Seth’s work, you won’t be too disappointed.

The story begins by introducing us to Albert (Seth), a disheartened sheep rancher.  Albert’s girlfriend Louise (Amanda Seyfried) breaks up with him for a wealthier man, Foy (Neil Patrick Harris).

Albert starts a quest to win back Louise, and so begins the tale.

Getting right down to it, I can only say that I am very conflicted about this movie.  Parts of it were hilarious, and aside from Seth, the acting was great.  In fact, there are easily 25+ big name actors that either played roles or had cameos in the film.  It’s a veritable laundry list of Hollywood heavyweights:

 

Liam Neeson

Sarah Silverman

Giovanni Ribisi

Ewan McGregor

Christopher Lloyd

Gilbert Gottfried

Jamie Foxx

Ryan Reynolds

 

… and the list goes on.  The star-studded cast was easily my favorite part of the film.  It was a huge amount of talent for one small motion picture.

Unfortunately, the writing was terrible. The jokes themselves were funny, but often poorly timed.  On many occasions the audience was still laughing when the next line was spoken, and I missed an important part of the film.

Furthermore, Seth’s character and several others talk in a very modern vernacular, and not period at all.  It would have made more sense if Seth’s character had some how gone back in time.  His modern diatribes would have been funnier and less out of place.

One of the greatest traditions of western farces, like Blazing Saddles, is that the humor is worked into a believable setting. In A Million Ways, the verbiage they use makes it feel completely out of place.

The cinematography was excellent, as were all the sets, props, clothing, etc.  It was all realistic, despite the main character’s propensity for sticking out like a sore thumb.

Note: right from the movie’s title, you are treated to many characters being killed in gruesome and vivid ways.

All in all, this film entertained me. The humor was successful at making me laugh, yet was also awkward and distracting with how out of place it seemed.  Thus, I recommend two things:

1.) Wait to watch it at home (no theater) so the crowd’s laughter won’t interfere.

2.) View this film in some kind of altered mind state. You’ll enjoy it more.  I hope.

 

2 out 5 stars

Author:  Christopher Daniels

Editor: Jeff Boehm

 

 

 

 


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