Seth MacFarlane has a strong fan base for his show “Family Guy” and his last film, “Ted,” but “A Million Ways to Die in the West” may disappoint even his biggest fans. Unfortunately, “A Million Ways to Die in the West” is a prime example of featuring the best jokes in the trailer; the jokes used to sell the film are by far the film’s best and include almost all of the title’s referenced numerous deaths (more like ten instead of a million). What is left of the film that was excluded from the trailer is a standard romance storyline in which a man falls for a woman that isn’t exactly whom she says she is.
Albert (Seth MacFarlane) is an inept, cowardly, and disappointing sheep farmer. Since he’s neither brave nor successful, Louise (Amanda Seyfried) dumps him to begin seeing shop owner Foy (Neil Patrick Harris). Albert’s friends, Edward (Giovanni Ribisi) and Ruth (Sarah Silverman) fail to cheer him up, but his life takes a turn for the positive when he meets Anna (Charlize Theron), a new, beautiful woman in town hiding out while waiting for her husband (Liam Neeson) and his posse to show up. Anna teaches Albert to shoot and restores his self-confidence, but their kindling romance is headed for disaster as Louise renews her interest in Albert and Anna’s secrets are headed for exposure.
If you’ve seen its trailer, you’ve pretty much seen all that is worthwhile in “A Million Ways to Die in the West.” The tired story doesn’t spark much chemistry between MacFarlane and Theron. Instead, Oscar-winning Charlize Theron is reduced to playing eye candy and laughing at MacFarlane’s jokes so we know they’re supposed to be funny. And the jokes not in the advertising are mostly the immature pith of base humor: diarrhea and penises (sheep penises, to be specific).
It’s hard to admit for this biased reviewer, but it seems MacFarlane’s success with “Ted” relied on Mark Wahlberg’s comedic performance more than MacFarlane’s talents. MacFarlane has an often witty sense of humor, but he does not deliver as the star of his film. His character is given too much weight and his talented cast has little to do other than decorate the scenery, though extremely brief cameos are super fun from Ewan McGregor, Ryan Reynolds, Christopher Lloyd, and Jamie Foxx.
Rating for “A Million Ways to Die in the West:” C-
For more information on this film or to view its trailer, click here.
“A Million Ways to Die in the West” is playing in many theatres in Columbus, including AMC Lennox and Easton and Movie Tavern. For showtimes, click here.