A Million Ways to Die in the West is basically what it says it is! It’s a comical view at life in “Wild West” from the eyes of protagonist Albert Stark, played by Seth Macfarlane. The reason I chose to address Albert as the protagonist and not the “hero” is because he is the polar opposite of a gun-slinging, butt-kicking, always-angry type of hero we are used to seeing. Albert is a sheep farmer who believes that the only thing keeping him happy in the hellish land is his girlfriend Louise, played by Amanda Seyfried. But things change when she decides to end their relationship on account of him being a coward. Unable to cope with the break-up, Albert plans to leave town. This is when he meets Anna (Charlize Theron), the new girl in town. She finds Albert amusing and decides to help him get Louise back. One thing leads to another and Albert ends up falling in love with her, ignorant of the fact that she is the wife of fastest draw in the west, Clinch (Liam Neeson).
As simple or archaic the story may sound, the crux of the movie lies in the humor, which is anything but mundane. As a writer of the movie, Seth packs a jungle of wisely crafted jokes and puns into the script. Believe me, 10 minutes is the maximum time you will get to recover and adjust your seats before another funny scene hits you. They are fresh; some expected, some unexpected and some that will make your stomach hurt. In short, if you paid a penny for every time that you laughed during the movie, it would surely be making millions. If you’re looking for a reason to watch this movie: it’s a heavy dose of laughter and yes, it shows a lot of ways in which west could kill you.
The movie stands strong on what it promises to be, but falls short on a few smaller aspects. It is almost impossible to comprehend why there is such a huge cast of actors. Yet even if they do not end up portraying an Oscar-worthy character, they most certainly manage to keep you laughing. Seth Macfarlane takes on multiple hats as a director, writer and the lead actor. Albert Stark certainly is a character written for Seth and he plays it quite naturally. When it comes to direction, it’s hard to judge his work. There are events in the movie that may feel unnecessary, but they don’t tend to become boring or burdensome. The music, though infrequent, plays fairly well with the western theme of the movie.
A Million Ways to Die in the West might not be Avant-garde, but it most certainly is a crowd-pleaser. It is not something that you take home and ponder over, but the kind of movie that entertains you and leaves you with a smile on your face. To add to the experience, the movie is loaded with cameos and references that you’ll want to keep an eye out for!