Will A Million Ways to Die in the West Live in Theaters?

A Million Ways Poster

Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried, Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman and Giovanni Ribisi

The movie opens similar to the old Wild West movies, with long sweeping scenes of the desert landscape and big bold credits that go on for far too long. The story is set in Arizona in 1882, with the classic Wild West formula where a ruthless outlaw comes to town threatening the town and eventually leading to a showdown with the hero.

Enter MacFarlane as our hero. He plays a poor, yellow-bellied, sheep farmer named Albert, who gets dumped by his girlfriend Louise (Amanda Seyfried), after he TALKS his way out of a gun fight. Louise then prances around town with her new love interest, the rich and sophisticated Foy (played by Neil Patrick Harris). The audience is assured of his wealth by the fact that he has a mustache, a facial feature only the very wealthy are able to sustain. Foy’s mustache is a centerpiece of the movie and is continually reference to demonstrate his wealth and smugness. So much so that an entire song and square dance number is devoted to it, as well as a hilarious sex scene, that definitely doesn’t go the way the audience expects it too!!!

While our poor sheep farmer is wallowing in the loss of the love of his life, a beautiful and shadowy Anna (Charlize Theron) arrives in town with her brother. She agrees to spend time with Albert in an effort to make Louise jealous. However their plan backfires when Albert, who admittedly has never shot a gun in his life, gets fiery and challenges Foy to a gun fight. Anna decides to make Albert her pet project and teach him how to shoot, one more step to help Albert win back his love. Of course, as the two spend more time together they start to fall in love, which could be detrimental to their lives, but I will let you see how that works out.

Unknown to Albert, Anna is the wife of the territory’s most vicious killer Clinch (Liam Neeson). While Neeson doesn’t have a big part in the movie, when he does show up, he kills, both figuratively and literally. After all, Neeson only agreed to do the movie only if he could emphasize his Irish accent, and boy does it show!!! Clinch’s troubled marriage with Anna, is the catalyst to our villain vs. hero show down. And while I am trying to avoid spoilers, I have to say that my favorite Neeson moment was with the daisy…

While Anna and Albert start to fall in love, Albert’s best friend Edward (Giovanni Ribisi), is trying to get the top prostitute in town, and his long-time girlfriend Ruth (Sarah Silverman), to sleep with him before they get married. Edward is a virgin and while he believes that he should be patient for marriage, his urge to see if they are “compatible” is starting to take root. Their relationship is a hilarious contradiction, Ruth “services” up to 10 customers a day (on a slow day), but also agrees that they should wait for marriage to consummate their relationship. After all, they are good Christians… The exchanges between the couple are hilarious as Ruth tells Edward about her day, which contains some of the dirtiest parts of the movie. She describes her daily routine as though her job was as normal as selling insurance…

As the movie cuts back and forth between the two love stories, it also splashes in sight gags and one-liners involving diarrhea, semen, piss and pretty much every other bodily fluid you can think of. In addition to the various drug and alcohol references, the film also features some surprisingly graphic violence. Heads are crushed, people are set on fire, shot, and maimed. If you are any fan of Family Guy, you will recall the numerous times that Peter has been beat up by the chicken, and the various liberties taken with bodily fluids in the cartoon series. Since I am a fan of Family Guy, I can definitely say this is a real life version of some of the things that worked so well in the cartoon.

 

*** SPOILER ALERT: If you don’t want to read about some of the fantastic cameo appearances in the movie, I suggest you stop reading now and go see it. ***

In true Family Guy fashion the movie is filled with random well known celebrities that pop up out of nowhere yet fit perfectly into the film. The most notable is the reference to Back to the Future III where Doc Brown is working on the DeLorean. Yes, Christopher Lloyd makes a cameo appearance and tries to cover up the infamous car when Albert walks in on him working on it. Some additional celebrity cameos are Alex Borstein as the whore house boss, Dennis Haskins (Mr. Belding from Saved by the Bell) selling his miracle cures at the fair, Gilbert Gottfried doing a hilarious Abraham Lincoln, Ewan McGregor as a cowboy at the fair and even Dawson himself, James Van Der Beek, shows up in the town saloon!!! Plus there are many more that I won’t spoil for you.

What the movie lacks in dramatic Hollywood special effects, it makes up for in comedy. This movie isn’t just funny, it’s very funny. There isn’t a dull moment in the film and it will keep you laughing all the way to the end.  I would definitely recommend this movie for those that want to see a comedy, a true comedy, which will have to you laughing until you are crying and trying not to piss yourself.

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