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Info 101: Movieclips 199: There truly are a million ways to die in the west

A great cast takes this send-up of Blazing Saddles beyond its master.
A great cast takes this send-up of Blazing Saddles beyond its master.
2014: Universal Pictures: non-free use of poster to promote product with no intent to compete with or hinder copyright owner in any way.

"A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST" from Universal Pictures opens Fri., May 30, 2014.

STARRING: Seth McFarlane, Liam Neeson, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Sarah Silverman, Giovanni Ribisi, Neil Patrick Harris, Rex Linn and Christopher Lloyd.

DIRECTOR: Seth McFarlane ("Ted", "Family Guy")

SYNOPSIS: After a cowardly sheep farmer (McFarlane) backs out of a gunfight, his fickle girlfriend leaves him for another man. When a beautiful and mysterious woman (Theron) rides into town, she helps him find his courage and they begin to fall in love. Then her husband, a notorious outlaw, arrives in town seeking revenge and the farmer must put his newfound courage to the test.

There are some people who should not see this film: people who don't like Family Guy on television; politically correct morons who still live in the dark ages; people who don't like to laugh; and people who have to sit the kids this weekend but not next weekend. Everyone else will enjoy the heck out of this film.

On the surface, it looks like an updated send-off of "Blazing Saddles" (which it kind of is) but it is also a film that does not need to rely on that film's memory. McFarlane, who does rub some people the wrong way, is very funny at times and is still developing his comedic style. It really helps him that, as a director, he cast some actors who are as good at comedy as they are at drama.

High on that list is Liam Neeson. Neeson can use his face as a tool to convey emotions better than most actors. He's so good at it that dialogue is superfluous at times. The play-off between McFarlane, Neeson and Charlize Theron borders on genius at times, especially during the 'shadow puppets' scene. This scene will last as long as the gas-passing scene from "Blazing Saddles".