FILM REVIEW: A Million Ways To Die In The West

Fresh from last year’s Ted, Seth MacFarlane’s new film is the best comedy western since Blazing Saddles!

Comedy western is pretty narrow niche. If I think back across all the time I have been seeing films, Mel Brook’s 1974’s classic ‘Blazing Saddles‘ stills rules the roost. There have been one or two other borderline contenders, like Mel Gibson’s Maverick, Jackie Chan’s Shanghai Noon, last year’s Lone Ranger, but like I say, it’s a pretty narrow niche.

So this year, we have Family Guy‘s Seth MacFarlane in A Million Ways to Die in The West. The storyline (and it’s pretty thin) is that Seth’s lead character Albert, a mediocre sheep farmer, is dumped by his girlfriend Louise (Amanda Seyfried doing her best Nellie Oleson impression from Little House on the Prairie) after he fails to fight a duel. Becoming totally dis-enfranchised by the wild west and the numerous ways to make your demise there (hence the title), he meets and falls in love with Anna, whom unbeknownst to him, is hiding in his town from her psychotic gunslinger/bandit husband Clinch (a very straight Liam Neeson). Eventually the duel Albert has been avoiding his whole life is set before him, and he must rise to the occasion!

I have to tell you I found this film brilliant and hilarious, but it will not be to everyone’s taste. There is a lot of swearing and very basic toilet human, but the audience I was with was rolling in the aisles. The gags are thick and fast, as inventive as they are crude, and much of the simple dialogue and double entendres made that much more effective by a very likeable Seth as Albert, his best friend Edward (Giovanni Ribisi), Edwards’s chaste but prostitute fiancee Ruth (Sarah Silverman), and his nemesis Foy (who owns the local moustache shop) played by How I Met Your Mother‘s legen…. wait for it… dary, Neil Patrick Harris. Amanda Seyfried doesn’t do much for me, but Charlize Theron clearly had fun making this film, and  the humorous chemistry between her & Seth really shows through. The visual gags particularly stand out, which means I expect this film to do better than Ted. And watch out for many cameos – blink and you’ll miss some of them, but they are real treat.

Like I say, some of the humour is a little close to the knuckle racist, which may well draw some complaints – I originally wanted to take my 11 & 12 year old sons to see it, but I see why it has an R rating, Still, I give it a solid win!

GS Blogger: Silverfox

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