Every single thing that interests me. And that's a lot.
If you like Seth MacFarlane’s earlier work, most notably the TV show Family Guy and the movie Ted, you are probably going to like A million ways to die in the west. It is, however, not a particularly good movie. It is an american comedy, a sub-category that in itself lowers one expectations for any film. MacFarlane seems to be somewhat of an expert in this field, and while his productions don’t reach such abysmal lows as, for instance, movies featuring Adam Sandler, they are reduced to blatant sex jokes and disconnected physical humour. Even Ted, which had the opportunity to become a humorous, yet symbolic representation of a man’s inability to grow up, ultimately threw away that promise in lieu of “funny and outrageous things that happen randomly”.
A million ways to die in the west features MacFarlane in the lead role as the incompetent sheep farmer Albert, in a silly and stereotypical representation of the old west. After being his girlfriend (Amanda Seyfried) leaves him for another man, he is quickly joined by the initially enigmatic Anna (Charlize Theron), unbeknownst to him wife of the legendary outlaw Clinch Leatherwood (Liam Neeson). With her help he must try to win a duel against his rival in romance and through this win back his love. While there are some entertaining characters (Notably Neil Patrick Harris and Sarah Silverman) and moments, most jokes are ether overused, misplaced or simply aren’t funny to begin with. Many of the films gags can probably only be fully appreciated if you happen to be a 9-year old who has made the startling rediscovery that the appearance of human excrement and bodily fluids are taboo in most social interactions.
The story of the film revolves around a predicable love triangle and the looming threat of the bad guy coming to town. Most of the time, the story feels more like an excuse to feature jokes in different settings than an actual narrative. Unlike the earlier mentioned Ted there is not even an attempt to symbolise, reflect, or in any way relate to actual problems, relationships, or life experiences. A simple, straightforward story is sometimes what you want, and sometimes what a movie needs, but it is the incomplexity of the narrative in combination with the mundanity of the events that causes the sum of the experience to fall flat.
At best, this movie gives you a couple of laughs, and a refuge from the summer heat. I do not recommend it.