A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014)

<strong class="MovieTitle">A Million Ways to Die in the West</strong> (2014)

(On Cable TV, March 2015) There’s a lot of potential in the premise and cast assembled by Seth MacFarlane for A Million Ways to Die in the West.  As a modern-thinking man somehow stuck in the very dangerous old west, MacFarlane himself has a bit of charm (albeit maybe not enough for the entire role), and being surrounded by Charlize Theron (in the funniest, most relaxed role she’s had in years), Amanda Seyfried and Liam Neeson isn’t a bad deal.  At times, some of the comic set-pieces are indeed very funny (none more so than the sequence in which the title is explained), and some of the character work by actors such a Neil Patrick Harris, Giovanni Ribisi and Sarah Silverman is pretty nice.  Unfortunately, MacFarlane’s worst comic instincts often get the best of his better ones.  Often crude, vulgar and tasteless, A Million Ways to Die in the West seems intent on wasting great visuals (it does look like a western) and tons of potential into dumb jokes that are more repellent than daring.  It feels long, scattershot and doesn’t even have the superficial thematic depth that MacFarlane’s previous Ted did.  Unfortunately, no amount of cameos, slight chuckles, ridiculous situations or blatant anachronisms can quite tie up the film’s lack of direction, inconsistent pacing and distasteful humor.

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