Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

"A Million Ways to Die in the West": Seth MacFarlane Continues to Inflict Himself Upon the Culture 

Wednesday, May 28 2014

Surround Seth MacFarlane with an illustrious cast of stars — including Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman, and Giovanni Ribisi — and he's still a terrible actor. Such is the central problem with A Million Ways to Die in the West, a Western comedy in which the Family Guy and Ted creator vainly attempts to generate laughs from the contrast between his 19th-century setting and his nerdy sheep-farmer protagonist Albert's habit of speaking like a 21st-century wiseass. If that sounds like a dreary device upon which to base a film, it's merely one of many issues plaguing this dud, which spends most of its prolonged 116-minute runtime segueing between wannabe-scandalous profanity and filth, and insufferable narrative clichés involving Albert's efforts to win back his ex-girlfriend (Seyfried) from a mustached jerk (Patrick Harris) with the help of a beauty (Theron) who's married to a notorious gunslinger (Neeson). The proceedings' humor is primarily predicated on inappropriateness, be it of a sexual or racist sort. Yet the material's desire to shock is almost as juvenile as the time spent on unfunny, momentum-killing dramatic developments is frustrating. Through it all, MacFarlane's co-stars gamely ham it up in bits involving facial semen, hats full of diarrhea, and other assorted nastiness, sullying their own names alongside a headliner whose own screen presence is gratingly wooden. Spending copious time bashing the Old West as nightmarishly archaic, the smutty, smart-alecky A Million Ways to Die in the West does little more than make one pine for an era before the cinema du MacFarlane.

About The Author

Nick Schager


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular