Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ Review: Starring Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron & Amanda Seyfried

The main problem with Seth MacFarlane’s (2012’s Ted) newest film is that there needed to be way more jokes about the West and way less gross-out humor that we have seen a million times before. Luckily we have Seth MacFarlane and Charlize Theron’s undeniable chemistry and charm that manages to carry the film.

Set in Arizona in 1880, A Million Ways to Die in the West tells the story of Albert (Seth MacFarlane), a super-sweet sheep farmer with no gun-fighting skills whatsoever. When his gold-digging girlfriend Louise (Amanda Seyfried) leaves him after he backs out of a gunfight, Albert tries anything to “man-up” and win her back.

When mysterious gunslinger Anna (Charlize Theron) and her angry rugged brother Lewis (Evan Jones) come to town, Anna befriends Albert immediately and teaches him how to shoot like a true westerner. After spending everyday together, the two develop feelings for one another, but when Anna’s husband Clinch (Liam Neeson), the most wanted man in the West also arrives in town, he seeks revenge on Albert and the farmer will have to put his newfound skills to the test.

MacFarlane is too cute to boot as sensitive Albert, while Theron is equally charming as rough and tough Anna. The two really hit it off from the moment they meet on screen and although their relationship is nothing we haven’t seen before, these two actors are clearly dedicated and have touching and humorous chemistry throughout the movie to keep it afloat.

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A Million Ways is packed full of talented actors including Giovanni Ribisi as the virginal Edward, Sarah Silverman as Edward’s hooker fiancée Ruth, and Neil Patrick Harris as Louise’s douchey new boyfriend Foy. It’s hard to outshine Ribisi in anything, but Silverman manages to steal every scene she is in as the popular prostitute who is “saving herself” for marriage, while Harris breaks out into a musical number (of course) titled the “Moustache Song,” that will easily get stuck in your head.

Where A Million Ways fails is the countless dirty humor jokes, (there must’ve been a dozen sheep penises in the film…yuck), fart and fecal jokes (just how old are we, that stuff stopped being funny when I was five) and the falling and tripping jokes (just plain dumb). If there were less of these, it would’ve made the film about a half hour shorter, which would’ve been 100 times better. MacFarlane’s comedy is way too long.

Overall, MacFarlane’s humor may please a niche audience, but the gross-out humor interjected throughout the film cheapened the story and this little lady didn’t find those parts funny. However, Seth MacFarlane and Charlize Theron are so darned good together and with the two being the driving force in the story, A Million Ways is worth the watch is you’re a fan of either actor.

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