A Million Ways to Die in the West review by George Hooper - Cinema Paradiso
Seth MacFarlane is back behind the camera (and in front of it) for his follow up to Ted and this time he is lampooning the classic western but instead of a Blazing Saddles esque comedy romp this is just as childish as his prior work and maybe even more so but regardless of the comedy employed by the creator of Family Guy this is a fairly entertaining little journey into the old west even if some of the jokes feel like old rehashes of Family Guy cutaways.
A Million Ways to Die in the West follows Albert (MacFarlane), a lowly sheep farmer who is dumped by his girlfriend Louise (Amanda Seyfried). However when the beautiful Anna (Charlize Theron) arrives in town he is taken by her and when she starts teaching him to to shoot he starts coming into his own. However when prized gunfighter Clinch Leatherwood (Liam Neeson) comes to town looking for someone Albert finds himself in serious trouble as he contemplates the many ways he might die in the west.
While the film feels like a testing ground for what works in period comedies and what doesn’t there is plenty here to laugh at and overall the film is a pretty satisfying story of good versus evil and everyone in between. The film has some great double teams to work with as the pairing of MacFarlane and Theron makes some of the films best moments and the confusing sexuality of the pairing of Giovanni Ribisi and Sarah Silverman is equally charming.
In fact the film works best when characters are riffing off one another and while the film rarely strays from the script its the more improvised moments that work to the films advantage with Theron giving one of her best comedic performances as the boysrous Anna who almost certainly wears the trousers in her relationship with Albert.
While some of the material doesn’t work and the first act is ever so slightly dull without Theron’s presence the film comes into its own in the 2nd act as the tone comes into place and the material gets a little more nuanced as the film stops setting things up. By the end you will be glad you caught it but it won’t leave you clamouring for more in the same way Ted did.