Albert (Seth MacFarlane) hates living in the old west. It’s the year 1882 and just about everything can kill you. His girlfriend (Amanda Seyfried) dumps him for the local moustachery owner (Neil Patrick Harris), his parents hate him and he is just the worst sheep farmer ever.
Enter Anna (Charlize Theron), a mysterious stranger with a shady past who quickly bonds with Albert and changes his life forever.
Some have criticised A Million Ways To Die In The West as a vanity project for MacFarlane who is incredibly successful behind the scenes thanks to movies such as Ted and the television series Family Guy – amongst many, many others.
It is no secret that he is a creative force of nature with a very specific sense of humour that audiences either love or hate. His latest movie is no different.
There are the usual, chuckle-worthy, drawn-out, see-the-punchline-coming-a-mile-away jokes that MacFarlane likes to do, but there are also some surprising and hilarious gems hidden within this piss-take of the western genre.
A strong supporting cast in Theron and Liam Neeson feed MacFarlane everything he needs, but it is important to note that this isn’t MacFarlane’s first time acting. He’s had bit parts in TV shows such as Gilmore Girls and The War At Home – not to mention his multitude of voice roles. He knows what he is doing, and refreshingly, is endearing as the lovelorn Albert. His chemistry with Theron is effortless and believable.
The biggest downside is the one-step-too-far jokes that drag the audience over the line and then beat them with the punchline until it sadly isn’t funny anymore. It’s like a comedy bell curve that takes the audience to the limit but then makes sure to deliver them back to the lowest point again and the next joke has to work even harder.
Towards the end it does become a little bit self-indulgent but overall A Million Ways To Die In The West is a clever comedy that audiences will enjoy.
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