Seth MacFarlane became very successful making the animated TV-show Family Guy, but the funniest thing he’s done to date is still the movie Ted. The sequel was good though less sparkling with originality, but to prove he can still make a whole lotta people laugh, he decided to made a spoof of the Western genre.
Much like Mel Brooks before him (watch Blazing Saddles coz it’s downright comical) nothing can be taken quite seriously in A million ways to die in the West. Sure, the bad guy is one you would rather like to avoid, but overall it’s a circus of ludicrous situations and hilarious jokes.
There may not be a teddy bear around, but the movie is nonetheless delightfully disgusting …
Luckily not all jokes are about poop or dirty whores, coz that would’ve ruined the generally child-friendly atmosphere the movie beholds. Most jokes are in-your-face running gags where Seth MacFarlane proves that he’s the very best comedian of his generation. He has a foolproof sense of timing when telling a joke, and he’s even better when having to act out a certain comical scene. Time is of the essence when doing comedy and let it be known: Seth MacFarlane knows comedy like the back of his hand.
The story deals with a poor loser named Albert who turns out to be the single worst shepherd (his sheep are literally all over the place) and is an even worse cowboy. He can’t shoot unless it’s with his mouth and instead of bullets, it’s fast-cracking jokes usually at the expense of someone else … which is what gets him in trouble in the first place.
Then out of nowhere, Albert gets help from a mysterious lady who – what else did you expect – turns out to be devilishly beautiful. Not only by looks, mind you, but also by how she is able to shoot her pistols, like she’s the daughter of Clint Eastwood himself. She’s easily one of the finest gunners in the Wild West, that much is clear.
So Anna … she’s the lady … decides to help poor Albert how to handle a gun, and thus begins the start of a cute, charming relationship.
There is not much to tell about this movie other than that it’s really funny at times. Especially the first part comes with a huge load of fine-tuned pranks, wisecracks and one-liners. The second part of the movie still offers some laughs here and there, but focuses more on the story and the many characters running around blasting pistols, and so forth.
Seth MacFarlane takes point and it’s good to see him in the flesh instead of brown fur (of the teddy bear, get it? Seth MacFarlane voiced Ted in both movies and since teddy bears are stuffed animals made out of–pfff, whatever, you get the point).
He really shines in each and every moment, having written the script himself, but he doesn’t overdo it. He never becomes ‘too much’. He always does his jokes with a level of laid-back composure.
Standing by his side for most of the time is a woman who feels just as comfortable in a dead-serious drama (Monster), horror-science fiction (Prometheus) or brutal fast-action movie (Mad Max: Fury Road).
To top it off, she also knows her way around comedy, though this is not the first time she has shown her lighter side of life. Back in 2005, Charlize Theron played the part of Rita, the crazy simple-minded British kook in Arrested Development.
In A million ways to die in the West, she is slightly more serious though still gets to have fun and play around (though the best jokes are for Seth MacFarlane as the sympathetic loser).
There are many more familiar faces, but another one who steals the show is bad guy Clinch, wonderfully played by Liam Neeson. Though he only seems to be able to play one-dimensional tough guys these days – which is a real pity for an actor who used to be so diverse – he still does the job and comes off as a genuine bad ass.
After all, it’s his seriousness that plays awesomely well against the colorful background of countless of campy jokes …
Watch this one on a Saturday evening with friends (preferably half-drunk) – I promise you, you’ll have a laugh!
did you know?
Charlize Theron had to wear a wig for this movie as she had her head shaved for ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’.
Give it to me straight:
A million ways to die in the West isn’t a subtle comedy. It doesn’t wanna be. It wants to have fun, like a child playing in the mud. It wants to tell dirty jokes, stupid slapstick and ridiculousness served on a platter of laid-back relaxation. Like hanging in an armchair, this movie doesn’t require much brains. You just watch it and enjoy!
Some jokes are misplaced, but most of them are a pristine example of pitch-perfect timing making the joke even more funny than it was when you read it on paper. The wonderful display of Seth MacFarlane’s talents, the bad ass grin of Liam Neeson and the charmingly clever acting of Charlize Theron – this movie has it all!
It isn’t by far the best comedy, but if you’re looking for an easy night out with some laughs and non-stop entertainment … look no further … this movie is a gem amongst those who seek to find joy in a world rules by stupid sequels and unoriginal stereotype remakes.
Have a laugh, why don’t ya??