I have enjoyed Seth MacFarlane’s early work with Family Guy and had high hopes for him after seeing his directorial début with Ted. Sadly, his second time around is a dud. MacFarlane is known for the cutaway gags and lampooning American culture. His humor is unique and funny. But in A Million Ways to Die in the West most of his jokes fall flat or go on way too long. This is the first time we see MacFarlane in a live action lead role for a film. He’s known for his incredible voice acting skill for animated characters. Sadly, his live action acting is not at the same level of quality as his voice acting.
It’s 1882, and we meet Albert (MacFarlane), a sheep farmer, who gets dumped by his girlfriend (Amanda Seyfried) to a dandy (Neil Patrick Harris). Albert meets a mysterious woman, Anna (Charlize Theron), who helps Albert find his courage, but there is one problem. She’s married to a gunslinger (Liam Neeson). From there the film unfolds into a messy situation … hint the title. Most of the time MacFarlane looked like he was out of place in the film, and the story was lost with the numerous jokes thrown in your face every second. And speaking of all those jokes, the biggest letdown of this film are the jokes. Most of them are hit-or-miss and after the material runs out the film leads into toilet humor.
The film did have some fun moments, the bar fight scene in particular, but after seeing the hilarious Ted, MacFarlane’s second film disappoints. A Million Ways to Die in the West misses the big laughs, wastes its talented cast and is overlong. In the end, A Million Ways to Die in the West is a scattershot affair.