Friday, May 30, 2014


A Million Ways to Die in the West

A Million Ways to Die in the West official site Seth MacFarlane is one of those brave souls who are not afraid of offending anyone for the sake of telling a joke. After his foul-mouthed feature directorial debut "Ted" (2012), he was chosen to host last year's Academy Award ceremony and gleefully offended a handful demographics with some jokes that are criticized as racism, sexism, and homophobia. Just when those memories start to fade, he comes back wearing a cowboy hat as the writer (with Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild), director, producer, and lead actor of his sophomore feature, a Western comedy, "A Million Ways to Die in the West" (USA 2014 | 116 min.). The film certainly affirms Seth MacFarlane's reputation for being fond of juvenile-level bathroom humor, and the delivery of his gross-out and tasteless jokes often misfires like how the film's protagonist shoots a gun.

Set in Arizona in 1882, Albert (Seth MacFarlane) is a sheep farmer who doesn't really know how to shoot a gun. When he backs off from a duel, his girlfriend Louise (Amanda Seyfried) dumps him for an arrogant rich man Foy (Neil Patrick Harris) who is narcissistic about his carefully groomed mustache. While Albert desperately tries to win back Louise, he meets a beautiful woman Anna (Charlize Theron), the wife of a notorious outlaw Clinch Leatherwood (Liam Neeson).

Anna not only teaches Albert how to shoot bottles and cans like a redneck, but also she makes Albert fall in love with her. That love interest obviously doesn't sit well with Clinch Leatherwood.

A Million Ways to Die in the West Official Site

The film is mostly centered surrounding Albert's persisting quest to win back Louis, although we don't understand where the motivation comes from. Perhaps it's just a setup for a farce to run amok with raunchy jokes that involve human and animal excrement, when a fart runs out of gas. The story only serves as a garbage bag to hold filthy materials inside. Some characters exist in the film for a similar reason. For example, the sole reason for the dumb Edward (Giovanni Ribisi) and his prostitute girlfriend Ruth (Sarah Silverman) to remain in the film is because Seth MacFarlane wants to inject a few one-liners about hookers into the movie.

Of course, Charlize Theron looks gorgeous in the film, even traveling on horseback during that disease ridden era. I would have thought that she should look at least as bad as in "Monster" (2003). Even raising sheep in the dirt every day, Seth MacFarlane looks like as pretty as he just walked out of a department store's makeup section. Perhaps that's beside the point. The point of the film is to gather star power to tell dirty jokes, even the funniest comedian Bill Maher makes a brief unfunny appearance. If Asians, Blacks, Muslims, American Indians, and everyone else need to be the butt of a joke, so be it. Too bad the jokes are more appalling than funny.

Indeed, there is a million ways to die in the West. Enduring the film's lame and vulgar jokes must be one of them.

"A Million Ways to Die in the West," a Universal Pictures release, opens on Friday, May 30, 2014.

I haven't seen the movie yet so I'll reserve judgement until then but nice review. I wasn't planning on going to see this one in theaters anyway.

You share the same opinion I have of Seth MacFarlane though. I used to like Family Guy in high school but that was then. His jokes haven't changed.
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