A Million Ways to Die in the West – 3 out of 5
In my circle of friends and acquaintances (also called your Friends List on Facebook), Seth MacFarlane’s work is very polarizing. I know people that absolutely love him and think he’s a comedic genius and I know people that absolutely hate him and feel he is destroying the integrity of all we known and love about comedy. Personally, I like the guy but I will admit that I don’t find all his work to be the best thing I’ve taken in. There was a time when I gave up on Family Guy and didn’t watch it for a few years because I grew tired of seeing the same gags and pointless references but I eventually came back to it and still occasionally watch it to this day. And then you have Ted and I loved the hell out of that film. So, how does A Million Ways to Die in the West stand in the spectrum? Is it near Ted or near the time when I stopped watching Family Guy? Well, you can already see the score and already know that it is in-between both of them…*cough*Let’s just get to the synapsis…
|"Hey, remember that time when I...(fill in the rest)"|
|The look of a woman about to leave has not changed|
over the years...
|Just another way to die in the West.|
Like any MacFarlane property, the film throws a lot—A LOT—of jokes at you and the results are that some are funny, some are hilarious, some are disappointing and a lot of them can end up with absolutely no reaction from the viewer whatsoever. I laughed at many times in this film but too often a lot of gags are just repeats with new ingredients from other moments in the film, then there's fart jokes, and there's the predictable humor that can be seen coming a mile away. One trope I felt MacFarlane relied way too heavily on was the use of vulgarity and swears to try and create laughs. Fuck-bombs and shit-daggers don’t bother me but thinking that saying “Fuck” or “Shit” instantly means a punchline comes off as lazy. I can’t help but think of how, in my 15 years of doing stand up comedy, I’ve seen way too many new comics think that by saying “fuck” at the end of a joke (or yelling it) instantly means laughs or those comics who didn’t write their jokes up as well as they thought they did and just stand there adding “uh’s” and “fucking’s” in-between their words (for example, "I was...uh...fucking...uh...driving my car when fucking I...uh..." You get the idea). In A Million Ways to Die in the West, you can make a drinking game of how often MacFarlane decides to cap a scene and create a punchline by just having a character utter “shit” or add a “fuck” pointless into a line in a vain effort to transform it into a joke. Without a doubt, this is the most repetitive part of the film and the part the worked the least amount of times for me.
|It's a fair bet that "shit" and "fuck" was uttered at least twice in this scene.|
|NPH wins points for pulling off that mustache ridiculously|
|Look at them...being all hilarious and shit!|
|Yeah...I had to watch Django Unchained after this scene.|
|It's really just a Family Guy bit but damn, it was nice to see the Doc.|
|You don't see McGregor making many cameos in comedies.|
|Ladies, drop your bloomers because Ryan Reynolds is in this!|
|I've tried...I just can't hate Liam Neeson...mostly because |
I fear him.
|"I'm just showing up when I feel like...just like in Battleship."|
Without a doubt, A Million Ways to Die in the West isn’t a perfect comedy. A lot of the jokes fall flat and the truly hilarious moments are too few. However, the parts in-between the bad and the truly awesome are amusing enough that the film never gets boring. Sure, MacFarlane is clearly not an actor and being behind the mic to give animated characters life and being behind a typewriter (people still use those, right?) to give life to a story and a script is where he is the strongest but he wasn’t bad enough to destroy the film. Overall, the film is watchable and mildly entertaining but nowhere near MacFarlane’s strongest work.