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A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST, 2014
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  MOVIE POSTERA MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST, 2014
Movie Reviews

Director: Seth MacFarlane

Stars: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson

Review by Matthew Toffolo

SYNOPSIS:

As a cowardly farmer begins to fall for the mysterious new woman in town, he must put his new-found courage to the test when her husband, a notorious gun-slinger, announces his arrival.

REVIEW:

I'm fascinated why this film doesn't completely work. And it doesn't. Everything so far that Seth MacFarlane had touched has turned into financial gold while making millions of people laugh. I was huge champion of his feature directorial debut "Ted" in 2012 as I thought that it was one of the top 20 films of the year. It was that good!

Ted was a conventional romantic comedy with a lot of heart that had just one extra layer to it the romantic lead's best friend was a talking Teddy Bear. And because of that one extra hitch, the film works. It's one of the funniest films in years plus it has characters that you shockingly really care about.

And that's the art of all of MacFarlane's work: Ted, Family Guy, American Dad. He gives you a conventional setting but adds an extra hitch to it. So we are familiar while also shocked at the same time.

In "A Million Ways to Die in the West", MacFarlane attempts the same act as Ted. A romantic comedy but with one little hitch: they are in a movie Western. So instead of a talking dog, alien, baby, or teddy bear, we get a unique genre. It seems like he tinkered with his formula a little too much.

One of the problems with this Western is that it's a Western. So many of the jokes he tells aren't funny to anyone younger than 40 because no one watches Western's anymore. If he set this movie in space then you have yourself a different type of film.

Plus, he made it too grounded in reality. There are over-the-top moments, but nothing like Mel Brooks' 1974 Western parody Blazing Saddles (again, probably a film no one has seen under 40). That's the film I and perhaps others thought they were going to see.

This film is a great lesson for MacFarlane. He obviously has a lot of heart in his comedy, which makes him stand out from the pack. But you can't just make a conventional romantic comedy set in the 1880s and think we're going to flip out over it like we did Ted.

So MacFarlane has an obvious choice to make: Do Ted 2 and give people what they want and then attempt to make another comedy without his animation or CGI gadgets. Because I can guarantee you that's what he wants to achieve. This film didn't do it. It had funny moments but not a really fun movie to watch all the way through.

ACTORSeth MacFarlane
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ACTORLiam Neeson
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ACTORAmanda Seyfried
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ACTORCharlize Theron
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ACTORNeil Patrick Harris
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ACTORSarah Silverman
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ACTORGiovanni Ribisi
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ACTORChristopher Lloyd
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ACTORWes Studi
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