TR Review: Seth MacFarlane's Comedy Western Is an Unexpectedly Personal Statement

By Luke Y. Thompson in Movies
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at 5:27 pm


MacFarlane may be showing some more storytelling skill than usual, but he could still stand to learn a thing or two more - as with Ted, the movie feels like it has four acts, with an additional showdown with a villain tacked on after the hero's major arc has been effectively completed. Neeson's evil Clinch appears briefly at the beginning of the film and is mostly irrelevant until the end; throughout the bulk of the film, Neil Patrick Harris' mustache-o-phile Foy, who has no connection whatsoever to Clinch, is the primary antagonist. There's also some really awkward action directing: a horse chase sequence involving a train tries in vain to use editing tricks that don't disguise its terrible sense of screen geography.

So let's say you're a long-time MacFarlane fan and you've read this far. I assume you're wondering if your idol has sold out completely. Well, fear not: this film probably holds the world record for number of giant sheep penises shown onscreen, there's an extended laxative joke, and yes, there are bits that comment on racism, though not as many as you'd expect, and at least this time most of it is directly rebuked. Also, every other word is "fuck."

A Million Ways to Die in the West isn't going to change film history or even become any kind of classic, but it is a solid R-rated laugher, and it goes a long way towards making the case that Seth MacFarlane is in fact one of us. Yes, he overdoes it with lame references sometimes...okay, a lot...but for Bison it was Tuesday. Whose responsible this?

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