A Million Ways to Die in the West – Written Review

A Million Ways to Die in the West poster A Million Ways to Die in the West

Score: 5 out of 10

I don’t understand why so many humans think Seth MacFarlane is funny. I’m not trying to sound like a snob, but I just don’t find his particular brand of humor amusing and never have. Whenever I see people laughing at Family Guy or American Dad, I just sit there with a perplexed look on my face, always the one person who doesn’t get it. I had the same experience seeing his first feature film Ted in theatres a few years ago, where I laughed a grand total of three and half times (I was keeping track). So will his new movie A Million Ways to Die in the West break the mold? Will it be the first Seth MacFarlane comedy that I enjoy?

Like every movie I see, I made a point of going into this with a completely open mind. Despite not enjoying his previous efforts, I wanted to like this film, I wanted to love it, and at first, things looked promising. The fact that this is a western allows MacFarlane to explore and have fun with a new genre, and I actually did enjoy myself for the opening portions of the film. The cinematography, production design, and score are every bit as good as what you’d find in a serious western, and the characters are interesting parodies of classic genre personalities like the rugged outlaw, the hooker with a heart of gold, and the yellow belly who wants to find his courage. MacFarlane even managed to rustle up an impressive cast of actors like Liam Neeson, Charlize Theron, and Sarah Silverman, who all possess powerful comedic and dramatic chops.

Unfortunately, the good doesn’t last. After coming up with a few clever jokes regarding the film’s setting and era, MacFarlane falls back into the familiar kind of lowbrow humor found in everything he does. I did laugh a few times, but for the most part I was once again sitting there trying to decipher what everyone else thought was so funny. What’s so hilarious about throwing words like ‘fuck’ or ‘pussy’ into otherwise normal conversations? Is there anything witty or smart about watching someone have explosive diarrhea, or a goat pissing in someone’s face? This is low hanging fruit, people. Why do you like it? The historic setting doesn’t even prevent MacFarlane from resorting to the obnoxious, non sequitur pop culture references that he pointlessly shoehorns into everything. Why does this make laughter come out of one’s mouth? This is the kind of thing about Seth MacFarlane that makes me feel like a space alien. I just don’t get it.

If you enjoyed Family Guy or Ted you’re probably going to love this movie, and I’m not judging you. In fact I’m rather envious because it’s not easy being a jaded cynic all the time. This movie is just not for me, and I fully acknowledge that I’m in a very small minority here. I actually have a lot of respect for Seth MacFarlane as a person. Anyone who can build an entire Hollywood empire around himself deserves a lot of credit, and you can always tell that he’s a very intelligent and articulate man whenever you see him in interviews, but the jokes in his movies and TV shows are the stupidest things ever. This defines mindless entertainment. It’s the comedic equivalent of what Michael Bay has done to action movies. Why does someone like Adam Sandler receive the universal loathing he deserves, while Seth MacFarlane gets away with it? He’s clearly done a better job of figuring it out than I have, and the rest of the world loves him for it. More power to him.

-Review written by Blake Siefken, follow me on Twitter!