Written by / 5/30/2014 / No comments / , , , , , ,

A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST

year: 2014 rating: ***
When Seth MacFarlane’s cowardly sheepherder, Albert, confesses that he’s more like the guy in the crowd who pokes fun at the hero’s shirt than he is the hero, it’s a clever line… But as the actual in-the-flesh star of his first fully live action motion picture, we’re gonna have to judge the man’s shirt ourselves…

Seth gives great voice-overs but his on-screen acting style is more Jerry Seinfeld mellow than Woody Allen neurotic... Although, he tries his very best for the latter, rambling on and on about everything that bugs the living hell out of him. Meanwhile the side-characters, including Anna, played by Charlize Theron, and Liam Neeson’s dastardly outlaw Clinch, don't seem convinced they're in a comedy…Which isn't so bad since the performances in A MILLION WAYS TO DIE are laidback and natural, and Albert’s plight is involving: When his girlfriend dumps him for another guy, he prepares for a showdown but finds himself pitted against a much more lethal adversary, that being Neeson, the husband of his budding new love interest, Theron.

Promo Poster
While the title supports all the action-driven gags in the first half, mostly seen in the trailers... including a guy getting his head crushed by a block of ice... the funniest (and/or cleverest) lines are observations about the 1800’s: like how no one smiles in photographs and examples of old school racism.

These probably won’t evoke belly laughter like the sporadic bouts of "toilet humor" attempt to do, but each subtle quip provides McFarland a chance to philosophize in his own bold fashion, not letting any minority group or religious sect off the hook.

With gun fights, gorgeous exterior shots, an intentionally melodramatic soundtrack and a bevy of expository montage sequences, the movie plays out like a bonafide Cowboy picture with jokes on the side... And if you paid to see an actual story unfold, that's fine enough. But if you’re expecting TED or something drop dead hilarious like BLAZING SADDLES... best look somewhere else, pilgrim. 
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