A Million Ways to Die in the West

  • A Million Ways to Die in the WestA Million Ways to Die in the West never settles into an identity.
  • On the one hand, filmmaker Seth McFarlane’s comedy might have been a terrific spoof, one that pokes fun at the Wild West’s mystique and the tropes so often employed by the genre’s fiction.
  • On the other, it might have been a compelling tale centered on two under-achievers unaware of their own worth.
  • But, perhaps because it hopes to be both, it is good at neither.
  • Despite a handful of laugh-out-loud funny moments (see Christopher Lloyd’s cameo), it is not silly enough to be an effective spoof.
  • And courtesy of poorly developed characters, it doesn’t work dramatically, either. Clinch Leatherwood (Liam Neeson) has one trait. Ditto that for Foy (Neil Patrick Harris), Ruth (Sarah Silverman), Edward (Giovanni Ribisi) and Louise (Amanda Seyfried, wasted).
  • Anna (Charlize Theron) and Albert (McFarlane) have, perhaps, two or three traits apiece, but still not enough to feel like vibrant people.
  • Because all are thinly defined, we do not care about these characters, which means the drama falls flat.
  • An odd, out of place and lengthy segue into a Native American tribe’s camp doesn’t help either. It is neither funny nor emotionally powerful; it is simply meandering.
  • Which can be said about many scenes in this film.
  • Final Grade: F+
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31 thoughts on “A Million Ways to Die in the West

  1. Worst movie I’ve seen all year. Only thing that prevented it from an F grade for me was its setting and feel. MacFarlane certainty captured the look and environment of the old west.

  2. What you just mentioned is one of the most disappointing facts about this film! The trailer spoils every single funny scene! All we are left with is a bunch of dragging drama! I really hope he steps his game up for Ted 2!

  3. I wonder whether a movie with “a handful of laugh-out-loud funny moments” actually deserves an F+. I laughed a lot and so did my theater audience so I don’t think I was alone but this is flopped so it clearly didn’t connect with most audiences.

    • It sure didn’t. I thought about whether or not a D-minus was more appropriate than the grade I finally gave it. A D-minus would have meant the humor almost sustained it and kept it watchable throughout, even if it didn’t make it good. I went with the F grade for a few reasons:

      1. That interlude with the Native Americans brought a grinding halt to my enjoyment of this film.
      2. Out of the twenty some people in my theater audience, I was the only person I heard audibly laugh. At any of the gags.
      3. Even for me, the funny moments were so widely spaced that I wasn’t entertained for long stretches.

  4. F! ouch! I keep hearing this one sucks. I think a lot of people liked Ted and despite being similar type of material, that one worked and this one was missing something. Did you like Ted or think it was ok?

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