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Published June 3rd 2014
A very funny, clever film
Please note there are spoilers ahead in this review.
A Million Ways To Die In The West succeeds with the crude humour the audience will expect from the creator, Seth MacFarlane, of Family Guy and American Dad. Rude and often sexual humour is not used for cheap laughs. He uses it to show how cheap life was on the frontier a harsh, unforgiving place from the short life span of the people on the frontier to the rampant violence and crime.
This parody of the Western film genre works so well because it pokes fun at everything the audience has come to expect from a Western. The audience expects the protagonist to be a strong man and the protagonist's love interest to be a weak, dependant woman. A Million Ways To Die In The West spins this expectation on its head. The protagonist is played by Seth MacFarlane. He is shown to be a coward better with his brains than his fists while the character played by Charlize Theron, his love interest, is strong and skilled far more with a gun than the men around her.
The prevalent racism of the West is made fun of too such as the 'Slave Shack' where slaves are shot at .Though Seth's character is shown to be such a good guy that he dismisses the racism of the frontier when he befriends a group of Indians. Seth's character is the voice of the future, our present day, by making quips at the short comings of life on the frontier and the audience laughs because we agree with his quips.
There is a cameo from Christopher Lee at the end of the film where he builds a time machine like he does in Back To The Future. It's humorous because we are looking back in time too. The conventions of the Western are upheld though when Seth becomes the hero at the end of the film. Liam Nielsen pokes fun at his reputation for playing a tough, dark, brooding guy by playing this role exaggerated version of this guy. Amanda Segfired plays the expected role of a female in a Western film by being weak and helpless and it's interesting to see who Seth's Albert will go for: Anna or Louise. This film isn't for the family but if you like hilariously crude films and are a fan of American Dad and Family Guy you will enjoy this film.