Review - A Million Ways to Die in the West

A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014), R, 116 minutes - First things first: A Million Ways to Die in the West is a raunchy raunchy comedic western.  This isn't the sort of 'R' rated film you take your kid to.  For anyone familiar with writer/director Seth MacFarlane's work that may not be much of a surprise.  For those that aren't, the trailer - even the non-red band trailer seen below - gives a pretty good idea of what to expect.

This is MacFarlane's first theatrical project since 2012's Ted, the surprise comedic hit from that summer.  A Million Ways to Die in the West follows suit with loads of MacFarlane-brand humor.  Albert Stark (MacFarlane) is a paranoid, down on his luck sheep herder from the western frontier town of Old Stump, Arizona in 1882 and believes that pretty much anything can and will go wrong in the wild west.  Examples of which are illustrated throughout the film, some more ridiculous than others.

I always have difficulty writing about comedies because, generally, the best parts are bits that I don't want to spoil.  That's definitely the case here.  There is a basic story line driving the film, but it is a generic guy loses girl, guy tries to impress girl to get her back but finds his true love in the process plot.  MacFarlane gets help from a cast that includes Charlize Theron (Anna), Amanda Seyfried (Louise), Neil Patrick Harris (Foy), Giovanni Ribisi (Edward), Sarah Silverman (Ruth), and Liam Neeson (Clinch).  Neil Patrick Harris is particularly amusing as the proprietor of a mustache shop.  There are also a handful of cameos including Bill Maher, Gilbert Gottfried, Ewan McGregor, Ryan Reynolds, Christopher Lloyd and Jamie Foxx.

MacFarlane's brand of humor certainly doesn't jive with everyone - just about all of the bits could be deemed offensive by someone - so if you are easily offended you probably want to steer clear.  Overall, this was a pretty amusing comedic western.  If you're looking for a ridiculous, adult comedy, A Million Ways to Die in the West fits the bill.











*****SPOILERS*****

- Christopher Lloyd's cameo as Doc Brown hurrying to cover up a Delorean in a barn was spectacular.  Along the same lines, Jamie Foxx's cameo at the very end of the film was another great film reference.  Lloyd is actually credited as 'Doc Brown' (Back to the Future trilogy), but Foxx is listed as an uncredited 'Gunman at Fair in Final Scene' on imdb.com.  His appearance is clearly a reference to his character from Django Unchained (2012).


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