A Million Ways To Die In The West ***

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“A Million Ways To Die In The West” is the follow up movie by Seth MacFarlane to his outrageously funny 2012 film “Ted”. Here he puts himself in front of the camera and sets the story back in the old west, setting the stage for a parody based on clichés from classic western movies. Some of it is successful and some of it is not. I guess I was hoping for a classic along the lines of “Blazing Saddles” so my expectations were set pretty high.

The film has a lot of moments that are truly hilarious. A lot of it comes from the fact that MacFarlane’s character, Albert Stark, has a modern sense of humor and everyone around him has the 1880’s mentality. I especially love the moments where Stark stares right in the face of some classic western movie moments and pokes fun at them on the spot. During a potential duel he points out that the two men’s shadows appear to be engaged in oral sex. Then there is the moment where a classic saloon brawl breaks out and MacFarlane stands in the back, pretending to fight his friend in the hopes that nobody actually attacks them.

Eventually he gets caught in the crosshairs of a deadly outlaw named Clinch Leatherwood, played by Liam Neeson. Neeson of course gets some big laughs by playing this absolutely straight. His wife is played by Charlize Theron, who has the same modern sensibility as Stark, which results in a mutual attraction, hence why Clinch wants to gun him down.

Now my standards were set high because I figured someone like MacFarlane would really go for a searing look at the old West using R rated comedy. Instead we get a lot of potty humor, dirty site gags and a lot of naughty language. All of it is fairly funny but I was hoping for it to be edgy in a way that might even piss a few people off.

In the end this is a pretty funny flick. It got funnier the more I thought about it after I viewed it for some reason. Some of the dialogue and jokes stuck in my mind. I don’t think it will really break out though as it is not quite as accessible as “Ted” was.

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