Friday, May 30, 2014

A Million Ways to Die in the West

Review by Grace Snyder

Directed, written and starring Seth McFarlane, A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST fires audiences round after round of insanely crude hilarity. McFarlane plays Albert, an unfulfilled sheep farmer living in the wild, wild west. After bowing out of a gun-fight (where audiences get their first taste of McFarlane’s comedic intentions), Albert’s schoolmarm girlfriend, Louise (Amanda Seyfried), decides it is time to end their relationship. Louise cites Albert’s lack of motivation as reason for breaking off the affair and says that she needs to “work on herself.”


This proves to be a lie as Albert quickly finds Louise with the town’s local moustache-man, Foy (Neil Patrick Harris). Foy is extravagant and far more impressive than the sheepish Albert and he wastes no time pointing this out. Albert is beside himself in anguish, wishing only to win his Louise back.


Saving Albert from drowning in his own sorrows is his peculiar friend, Edward (Giovanni Ribisi) and his whore girlfriend, Ruth (Sarah Silverman). Edward and Ruth provide a plethora of laughs as the strange couple. Some of the funniest jokes in the film revolve around Ruth and Edward’s sexually pure relationship, while Ruth performs such acts on a daily basis for countless men.


Albert seems to be barreling downhill fast until the beautiful Anna (Charlize Theron) arrives in town. Anna, who is hiding the fact that she is the wife of the known and deadly gunslinger, Clinch (Liam Neeson), makes it her mission to help Albert restore his confidence.


Now although there is a semi-valid plot line in A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST, it is important to remember that the film is more or less a parody of a western movie. McFarlane highlights every stereotypical aspect of the west, from bar fights to deadly snakes and hoedowns at the local barn. This film is meant to entertain through comedy, and it does just that.


Despite the perhaps overindulgent presence of McFarlane on screen, he and the rest of the cast deliver countless laughs. Unlike most comedies in theatres these days, McFarlane is able to keep the laughs throughout; in most cases there are mere minutes between obnoxious cackling. And although McFarlane is the front-runner when it comes to the wisecracks, each character holds their own. Most impressive is Charlize Theron, who rarely finds herself in such comedic roles.


A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST may not have an actual point, and it may drag on for a bit longer than needed. However, it is worth a trip to the theatre. This film may have the potential to persuade non-believers to accept McFarlane’s interesting and stark sense of humor. But, if not, it will absolutely please those who already fans. 3 out of 4 stars.

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