News

REVIEW: Expect laughs with ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’

REVIEW: Expect laughs with ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’

Neil Patrick Harris and Seth MacFarlane star in "A Million Ways to Die in the West."/Universal Pictures

Genre: Biography, Drama, Sport | Run Time: 124 min | Rated: PG
Director: Craig Gillespie | Starring: Jon Hamm, Lake Bell, Suraj Sharma, Madhur Mittal

By: George Wolf

Picture Seth MacFarlane cracking wise as he watches an old western, and you’re probably not far from the inspiration for A Million Ways to Die in the West.

So how well do MacFarlane’s modern comedy cow patties work when dropped into a pasture of Old West cliches?

Pretty dang well, pardner.

MacFarlane, who co-writes and directs, also stars as Albert, a timid sheep farmer who’s brokenhearted over losing Louise (Amanda Seyfried) to the dashing Foy, owner of the town mustache emporium (Neil Patrick Harris).

Things start looking up when Anna (Charlize Theron) rides into town, and as she and Albert get friendly, Anna conveniently forgets to mention she’s already married to Clinch (Liam Neeson), the most feared gunslinger in the land.

With MacFarlane, you pretty much know what’s coming: cutaway gags to reinforce a line, toilet humor, and sex jokes (turned up a notch here by the always-demure Sarah Silverman as a town prostitute). But the film also has good fun with the historical setting, as Albert often reacts to his world like a wiseass who just arrived from the future.

Even so, MacFarlane is wise enough not to resort to outright mockery, always keeping the door cracked open just enough to let some homage shine through.

The chemistry between MacFarlane and Theron helps loads. You saw it when she helped him with a bit during his stint as Oscar host in 2012 and you see it here: they really like each other, and she thinks he’s really funny. Together, they’re a charming pair.

The middle suffers a bit from comedy drought, but the laughs come faster as Albert nears his final showdown with the evil Clinch. Expect a cast more than ready to poke fun at themselves, some very clever songs, a few inspired cameos and two extra scenes after the credits start rolling.

A Million Ways to Die in the West is a big, broad idea that’s thrown on the screen with more frenzy than focus. But will you laugh?

Darn tootin’.

Verdict 3 Stars

Read more movie reviews at MaddWolf.com.

Recent Headlines

in Music

Zac Brown Band scraps weekend show over voice problems

Zac Brown as Zac Brown Band performs during Music Midtown 2014 at Piedmont Park on Saturday, Sep. 20, 2014, in Atlanta.

The Zac Brown Band were forced to pull out of a show in Indiana on Saturday after frontman Zac Brown lost…

in Lifestyle

60 years on Las Vegas Strip, Riviera closes

This Feb. 16, 2015 photo shows the Riviera Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Owners of the hotel which opened in 1955 have agreed to sell the property to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The tourism agency confirmed the potential purchase Tuesday, Feb. 17 after days of not commenting on rumors of a deal.

The aging Riviera Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip is expected to close its doors at noon.

in Entertainment

Annie Leibovitz snaps ‘Star Wars’ cast

Star Wars Force Awakens

See the new photos of the upcoming "Star Wars" film, shot by celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz.

in Viral Videos

Councilman forgets to turn off his mic in the bathroom

25-overlay1

The city's Mayor Pro Tem tries to keep it professional, but her fellow council member's trip to the bathroom is just too distracting.

in Entertainment, Lifestyle, World

Britain’s newborn princess has been named

Britain's Prince William, right, and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, pose for the media with their newborn daughter outside St. Mary's Hospital's exclusive Lindo Wing, London, Saturday, May 2, 2015. The Duchess gave birth to the Princess on Saturday morning.

Britain's newborn princess has been named Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.