I had pretty high hopes up for this one. Family Guy is probably one of my favorite shows on television. Literally. The entire 23 minute laugh constantly. Like non stop. My friends kind of hate me for it. Not to mention, Ted is one of my favorite films. So with Seth MacFarlane set out to follow-up Ted, I was pretty excited. MacFarlane wrote, directed, produced, and stars in A million ways to die in the west. The film also stars Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris, Giovanni Ribisi, Sarah Silverman, and Liam Neeson. And as my title to this review suggest, it’s not what I was hoping for.
Now don’t get me wrong, that is sounding a little bit harsh. It’s not a terrible film. A million ways to die in the west tells the story of Albert Stark(MacFarlane) as he deals with his girlfriend(Seyfried) breaking up with him, and the million of ways that there are to die in the west. He pretty much hates living in his time. He meets Anna(Theron) whosets up to teach him to be a man and win back his girlfriend. Little does he know Anna is married to the evilest gunslinger in the west, Clinch Leatherwood(Neeson).
What works about the film are the little cameos, with exception of the greatest of them being ruined by the trailers. Which if you haven’t seen, you are lucky. There a lot of jokes that a throw backs to Family Guy, which I found hilarious, no matter how minor they were. As well with Barney Stinson in the film, there are a few ribs to How I Met Your Mother that are definitely going to hit if you are a fan of the show. The rest of the jokes are hit or miss. When they are on they really make you laugh. Charlize Theron is a gem in the film. She stands out like she does in most films, and has a lot of fun with the role. Barney as well is hilarious. It is kind of small roll, but it was still very funny. Giovanni Ribisi and Sarah Silverman are funny together, pointless characters, but still funny.
The rest of the cast is rather weak. Seth MacFarlane is not horrible as the lead, but he doesn’t mak you see the character. All you see is Seth MacFarlane, in the west. All you hear, is Brian Griffin. As well, the film has Liam Neeson. Liam Neeson! And yet the character is a waste of his talents. You could have put anyone in the roll, and it wouldn’t have been missing anything. If you have Liam Neeson, use him! He is one of the biggest badasses of all time, why would stick him in such a watered down role? There are also a lot of rehashed jokes. Like I get it, laxative, guy has poo. Ok. But how many more times are comedies going to rely on this joke? Dumb & Dumber hit it strong, let it go now! Also there would be a great set of jokes, then dick joke, then fart joke, then dick joke, then fart joke. It is almost like MacFarlane was feeling lazy, like when he wrote the Cleveland Show. The film also could have benefitted from the magic of the cutting room. If they would have cut out about 30 minutes it would have ran a lot smother. It definitely dragged a bit toward the end.
All in all, A Million Ways to Die in the West is a decent film. It rehashes jokes you’ve seen and heard before, but carries on Family Guy references strong. Seth MacFarlane isn’t horrible, but comes off as a guy wanting to put himself in the starring role of a film and make out with Charlize Theron. I gave the film a Jeebus score of 3. Check out the Matinee. Barely.