A Million Ways To Die In The West, film review: Seth MacFarlane gives us slapstick cameos, feeble puns and graphic violence

(15) Seth MacFarlane, 116 mins. Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Giovanni Ribisi, Liam Neeson
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The Independent Culture

MacFarlane’s venture way out west plays like a bad Mel Brooks movie.

There are the inevitable jokes about baked beans and breaking wind as well as plenty of smutty humour about goings on in the local whore house.

Between the slapstick, pointless celebrity cameos, in jokes and steady stream of feeble puns, the violence is surprisingly graphic.

MacFarlane himself plays a hapless sheep farmer terrified of blood. He is a latter-day equivalent to the greenhorn that James Stewart played in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

When one girlfriend (Amanda Seyfried) abandons him, a replacement (Charlize Theron in gun toting, Calamity Jane mode) takes him in hand. Inevitably, her sadistic boyfriend, the notorious outlaw Clnch Leatherwood (Liam Neeson) is jealous of the relationship.

The plot doesn’t make sense but through sheer force of attrition, some of the gags, especially those involving MacFarlane’s flock of sheep, do raise a chuckle.

Sarah Silverman is also good value as a hard-working Christian prostitute who turns tricks for a steady stream of grizzled cowboys but refuses to have sex before marriage with her devoted and priggish fiancé, Edward (Giovanni Ribisi).

Bizarrely, the film is as handsomely shot as any genuine western.