A Million Ways to Die in the West is a new Western comedy written, directed by, and starring Seth MacFarlane, of Family Guy fame.
MacFarlane also draws upon all-star talent, including Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Sarah Silverman, Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris, and Giovanni Ribisi. All together, the cast lives up to and within a typical MacFarlane film amazingly well.
The film has heart. MacFarlane plays Albert, a philosophical sheepherder in an Old West town populated by drunk cowboys and syphilic whores. And because of Albert’s more pedantic ways, he is an outcast and quickly loses his girlfriend, Louise (Amanda Seyfried), after backing out of a gun duel.
Albert’s wanting to win Louise back begins a journey where he eventually falls in love with outlaw Clinch Leatherwood’s (Liam Neeson) wife Anna (Charlize Theron). After a circuitous journey aided by his best friend Edward (Giovanni Ribisi) and his whore wife (Sarah Silverman), Albert must take on Clinch in a gun duel.
The film is also chockfull of typical, crude MacFarlane humor. At one point in the film, Albert is sneaking away from Clinch by hiding in a sheep herd. The camera pans to an up-close of a sheep penis relieving itself on Albert’s face.
A later scene shows Neil Patrick Harris’ character Foy suffering from diarrhea. This is shown as graphically as possible.
Regardless, MacFarlane has an audience and he knows his demographic. People who come to see the movie are expecting this shocking kind of humor—and let’s not forget, a song with a dance sequence.
Overall, the film is a silly beginning to a summer season. You can wait for it to be on DVD, or do as Albert does in the movie and eat a “special cookie” and check it out in theaters for even heartier laughs.
We give it a “B.”