MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST
SYNOPSIS: Seth MacFarlane directs, produces, co-writes and plays the role of the cowardly sheep farmer Albert in A Million Ways to Die in the West.
After Albert backs out of a gunfight, his fickle girlfriend leaves him for another man. When a mysterious and beautiful woman rides into town, she helps him find his courage and they begin to fall in love. But when her husband, a notorious outlaw, arrives seeking revenge, the farmer must put his newfound courage to the test.
REVIEW: While it might be a little premature and a bit of wishful thinking to expect MacFarlane (a pedigree writer, director, animator, producer and principal voiceover artist of Family Guy, American Dad!) to deliver at the level of classic Mel Brooks’ or current Quentin Tarantino’s style, “A Million Ways” fails to deliver period! It doesn’t even measure up to its own creator’s high standards for nose-thumbing disrespect, that we’ve all come to know him for. From mega hits like “Family Guy” to “Ted,” we’ve come to expect the 40-year-old wunderkind to go for broke, with his first lead role in a feature film; however, with this latest effort he fails to deliver even the slightest pretentious laugh-out-loud. What you don’t expect from MacFarlane is a genteel, insubstantial genre parody that, even with its somewhat expected parade of sex and fart jokes; it struggles to keep audiences engaged on any level. But then again that’s exactly what MacFarlane serves up in this 116 minute excuse for a comedy.
With watching “A Million Ways,” it sorta’ feels like MacFarlane rightfully fell in love with the idea of doing a comic western (which, arguably is long overdue in Hollywood) and decided he’d worry about the particulars as the filming trudged along, resulting in a disjointed series of comic sketches linked together by a beautiful set of sequences of Monument Valley panoramas. One can only imagine the story pretty much took a backseat to the star-power that signed up for this project. We see the likes of Liam Neeson (Taken I,II,III), Charlize Theron (Prometheus, 2012), Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother, TV series) and loads of cameos by some of Hollywood’s most relevant. With that, this flick showed the potential of achieving greatness on many levels, however, it just simply serves to frustrate, more than anything else. A farce, by all meanings of the word, is what we have here!
The bottom line here is that the only two good things this latest MacFarlane effort, has going for itself, is the all-star lineup (Minus Seth MacFarlane) and the beautiful panoramic vistas that would make any decent western movie producers envious. I can only say thanks for giving us great actors with great backdrop vistas and loads of nothing-ness to justify spending our money. My advice here is for MacFarlane to, “stick to what you know and leave the leading man role to the pros!!” You are not close to being ready yet! Needless to say, I’d be considered very generous to give, this latest effort, two and a half stars out of five. It is certainly not worth spending time nor money on, not even as a DVD rental.
By Movi-Man Stan
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