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Looneymanthegreat's Movie Reviews (125)

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A Million Ways to Die in the West 
Great Premise, Weak Execution
2.5/4 stars

There have been so many westerns over the years, and so many tropes associated with the genre that it’s kind of hard to come up with something new to say within the frame of the time and place. Most modern westerns have to do something dark and brooding, like Lawless, or bizarre and silly like Rango or Django Unchained.

A Million Ways to Die in the West, I’m happy to say, is actually is a surprisingly fresh take on the classic western genre. The film focuses on the aforementioned western tropes, but through a lens of harsh reality. Macfarlane, who directs, writes and stars, pokes fun at the western genre full of heroes and cool gunfighters by showing us how much the west actually really sucked. That’s the joke here: The west is cool in theory, but in reality it was full of disease and death.

Unfortunately this one, admittedly clever and well thought out joke, is hit over and over again for two full hours. The 5-hundredth time we see someone get shot, beat to death or explode the joke becomes ho-hum and kind of annoying. It would’ve helped me a lot if every freaking half way decent joke in the movie hadn’t been in the trailers, and it also would’ve helped if Seth Macfarlane was a likeable leading man; But what it really comes down to is that this movie stops being funny about twenty minutes in.

Maybe my expectations were just too high. Who knows? In a decade or so I may find this movie in the five dollar bin and it will be my favorite movie of all time, but right now after seeing it for the first time I can only think about how much better Rango or Blazing Saddles is, and how much I hate Seth Macfarlane..

I know A lot of people really like MacFarlane, but I usually don’t. His comedy is much more bearable here then it is in Family Guy or Ted, but I seriously question his decision to cast himself as the lead in this flick. If they had gotten someone who looked a little less punch-able then I could’ve seen the roll of a lonely man who hates the west to be much more relatable and even likable, but Macfarlane brings an aura of garishness and haughtiness to the roll that renders the character kind of confusing.

Honestly I enjoyed this movie; I just can’t help feeling like it should’ve been better. The jokes should’ve been funnier and their telling should have been pulled off as well. This was a legitimately great premise for a movie, but it’s squandered for the most part. If you’re a big western of Macfarlane fan it’s worth checking out, but if you just want a comedy fix I would go see Neighbors instead, It’s a lot funnier and it’s still in theaters right now.


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