'A Million Ways to Die in the West' produces a million laughs

Gary Wolcott, atomictown.comMay 29, 2014 

Film Review A Million Ways to Die in the West

This image released by Universal Pictures shows, from left, Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris, Seth MacFarlane and Charlize Theron in a scene from "A Million Ways to Die in the West." (AP Photo/Universal Pictures)


A Million Ways to Die in the West is set in the 1880s wild west. It casts Seth MacFarlane as Albert, the stereotypical reluctant hero and cowardly sheep farmer. Albert loses the love of his life, Louise. She's played by Amanda Seyfried.

The cause of the break-up is Albert backing out of a gun fight. Miffed at his missing backbone and low testosterone, she moves on and into a relationship with the arrogant local mustache shop owner. He's played with gusto by Neil Patrick Harris.

Charlize Theron stars as Anna, the wife of the most dangerous gunfighter in the west. He's played with villainy perfection by Liam Neeson. She is tired of him and his murderous ways and connects with the devastated Albert. Of course, he doesn't know who she is, why she's in town or that she's married.

Love blossoms, he blossoms. You laugh. A lot.

MacFarlane engages a great -- and often over-the-top -- cast. He and the afore mentioned actors are joined by a funny Sarah Silverman and Giovanni Ribisi, who have a most unusual relationship, and by most excellent cameos from Gilbert Gottfried, Wes Studi and a creative and clever bit with Christopher Lloyd.

Owing much to Mel Brooks'Blazing Saddles and other great comedies of the genre, A Million Ways to Die in the West is a hoot from the old-time John Ford-style opening credits to the hilarious Jamie Foxx cameo at the end of the closing credits. In between MacFarlane -- working with Ted and Family Guy co-writers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild -- packs A Million Ways to Die in the West with one practically perfect bit after another.

Some are planned. Others are most excellent ad-libs. MacFarlane and his co-writers and cast also fearlessly do some not-so-politically correct societal slams. No low is too low. Most of you won't care.

If you are easily offended, grow a sense of humor and see this one anyway. A Million Ways to Die in the West offers a million, must-see laughs.

Director: Seth MacFarlane

Stars: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris, Liam Neeson, Sarah Silverman, Giovanni Ribisi, Jamie Foxx, Gilbert Gottfried, Wes Studi, Christopher Lloyd

Mr. Movie rating: 4 1/2 stars

Rated R for language, mature themes and possibly offensive material. It's playing at the Carmike 10, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.

-- Cook up a comment or two and send them to Mr. Movie at www.tricityherald.com/arts/mrmovie.

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