Following on from his success with Ted, Seth MacFarlane has once again attempted to blend rom-com with disgusting-yet-funny gags and sick humour in his latest offering A Million Ways to Die in the West.
It is almost a one man show for MacFarlene as he combines the lead role, writing and directing.
He does make room for an excellent supporting cast that includes Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson, Giovanni Ribisi, Sarah Silverman, Neil Patrick Harris, as well as an assortment of fantastic cameos, including Christopher Lloyd having a “Great Scott” moment that leaves the audience cheering!
It is hard to spot a weakest link in the cast, and the gunplay and skills shown by Theron in particular are especially cool. Patrick Harris is also in his element – performing a boisterous song and dance number at one point about how fantastic it is to have a moustache (as you do!).
Set in Arizona in 1882 the storyline focuses on the depressing life of young sheep farmer Albert (MacFarlene), as he battles with the loss of his romantic interest, Louise (Seyfried).
She spurns him for the wealthy and successful Foy (Patrick-Harris), leaving Albert desperate to either win her back or head to San Francisco.
Into the mix rides the feared outlaw Clinch (Neeson) and his attractive wife Anna (Theron) who, left to her own devices, forms a friendship with Albert and starts to show him “The West” has some positives after all.
The film needs to be reviewed from two different angles – firstly the rom-com. The relationship between Albert and Anna is really quite sweet, and even though Liam Neeson is attractive as an outlaw you still hope he comes off second best.
Background stories between the other characters are amusing and you really feel sorry for some of them.
The other parts of the movie, which was designed to be like the old western movies made famous by Roy Rogers and the like, had me alternating between laughing out loud and covering my eyes in horror (but still giggling!) as the audience was treated to a never ending barrage of the type of humour MacFarlene has become famous for.
But, and this is the big but, the two genres just do not merge very well. It may have been better for the film to focus more on one or the other instead of cramming everything into two hours.
For all its good moments, and there are plenty, this film somehow fails to hit the target, which is ironic when this is such a running gag throughout the film. As long as you view it without majorly high expectations you should still enjoy it though!