This week we watched Seth McFarlane’s comedy, “A Million Ways to Die in the West.” McFarlane stars as violence-avoiding sheep farmer on the American frontier in the early 1880s. A stacked supporting cast includes Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Sarah Silverman, Giovani Ribisi, and Neil Patrick Harris costar. McFarlane also directs.
Ryan: Seth MacFarlane’s brand of humor, while popular, has proven to not be for everybody. I don’t mind it but it is a weird amalgamation of low-brow irreverence that can sometimes be clever, but usually in a an uncomfortable manner. When it works it can be funny and successful - think of most episodes of The Family Guy and about half of the feature film Ted. When it doesn’t work it can be hard to watch - think of the other half of Ted. Unfortunately “A Million Ways to Die in the West” is the latter. For a variety of reasons, the movie just doesn’t work. It’s not unwatchable or a complete squandering of time but it’s doesn’t satisfy to a degree that one would want out of a summer comedy. It really just falls flat.
Andy: “A Million Ways to Die in the West” has a bit of a comedy problem. Some jokes are inventive and clever, some jokes are a little too obvious, and some jokes are purposely offensive. What is unfortunate is that not enough of those jokes illicit laughter, and that makes the movie feel awkward for way too much of its runtime. I appreciate the concept of a western comedy, but it needs to hit on more jokes than it misses, especially if the rest of the movie lacks heart (which it does). While there are some strong scenes and jokes, too much of the movie is spent waiting for something else funny to happen.