Directed by: Seth MacFarlane
As did its spiritual godfather, Blazing Saddles, A Million Ways To Die In The West, attempts to straddle two very different worlds. First the Classic Old West of John Wayne and Tom Mix, and second the more scatological world of modern times. Now, we freely admit that this tale isn’t for everbody, especially when you consider that it is brought to us by the same guy who gave us Family Guy, and sang We saw Your Boobs at the 2013 Oscar telecast; so yeah, not everyone is either going to like, or understand this film, nor realize how hilariously funny it actually is.
Set against the sweeping scenic countryside of Monument Valley the film is the story of Albert (MacFarlane), a hapless sheep rancher who is not only fairly cowardly, but totally hates the west because (as he so eloquently states throughout the film) everything that isn’t you is out to kill you. So when he backs out of a gunfight, his fickle and self-absorbed girlfriend (Seyfried) leaves him for another man, Foy (Neil Patrick Harris). Albert goes into a deep funk and even his best friend, Edward (Ribisi) can’t pull him out of it. However, when a mysterious and beautiful woman named Anna (Theron) rides into town, everything changes. Anna helps Andrew find his courage and they begin to fall in love. However when her husband, Clinch (Neeson) a notorious outlaw, arrives in town looking for his missing wife and seeking revenge, Andrew must put his newfound courage to the test.
The story itself is an endlessly told tale that simply drips with Old West imagery; however all of the dialogue and character mindsets are clearly reflective on the current era. (Andrew talks about Louise “Breaking up” with him, everyone uses the “F”-word to excess, and they are all clearly aware about how horrid the Old West probably actually was, including all of the things that were simply lining up to kill you.) One of the funnier bits is that Edward’s girlfriend, Ruth is the town whore and apparently every male in tow has his way with her save for Edward (they are both “good Christian folk” and are “saving themselves” for marriage).
The film is raw, rude, and totally scatological, which simply makes it all the more hilarious. So if you are hankering for a bit of the old west with a truly wicked twist to it, then this one is for you.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.