Review: A Million Ways to Die in the West

Fans of Seth MacFarlane and his crude sense of humor rejoice – the man is back with A Million Ways to Die in the West, the latest notch in his bedpost of directorial works. MacFarlane is a triple threat in the making of the movie – the funnyman wrote, produced and directed the film. Make that a quadruple threat –  he also headlines the movie as disgruntled sheep farmer Albert Stark, who has an unnerving tendency of getting himself into duels with less than savory opponents.


A warning – this movie is not for the sensitive folks. If you’ve watched 2012’s Ted or any episode of Family Guy, you’ll agree that A Million Ways carries on the familiar adult themes that we’ve come to expect from MacFarlane’s works.

A Million Ways to Die in the West is a bit of a misnomer for the movie however. Despite what the title may suggest, the more creative deaths are few and far between. If you’re expecting the movie version of the popular TV series 1,000 Ways to Die, prepare to be disappointed.

While the film is supposed to be set in the American Frontier of the 1800s, it mocks the notion of it being a “period piece”. The characters’ accents, from the foul-mouthed American slang of Albert Stark to Clinch Leatherwood’s (Liam Neeson) growling Texan slurs, contribute more to the film’s humor than historical accuracy.

This does absolutely no harm to A Million Way’s likeability though. While it’s a stretch to classify any of the laughs in the film as highbrow, the jokes are crude but far from distasteful. No topics were off-limits in this movie. Sex? Gore? All were par for the course in A Million Ways, centered on a foul-mouthed cast of kooky characters from a gunslinger, prostitute, outlaw to a pastor..

Nonetheless, there’s a fine line between a comedy that makes fun of a genre and one that attempts to be a parody, A Million Ways did very well in falling on the right side of that thin line.

The strong ensemble adds to the success of the film with competent acting turning potentially tacky lines into witty goldmines (pardon the pun). In the movie, MacFarlane himself heads a dream team of fellow SNL alums and comedic veterans, including Neil Patrick Harris,  Sarah Silverman, a stone-faced Liam Neeson and musical thespian Amanda Seyfried.

If you still need another reason to catch A Million Ways, here’s a good one: cameos. We meant lots and lots of cameos. Look out for them, and here’s a hint – while this is no Marvel blockbuster – you may want to stick around for the after-credits scene.

A Million Ways is a charmingly quirky flick perfect for a fun day out with the rambunctious mates.

Rating: 4/5

Release Date: 12 June 2014

Runtime: 116 minutes

Language: English

Censorship Rating: NC16

Genre: Comedy

Director: Seth MacFarlane

Main Actors: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson