2014 / Director. Seth MacFarlane.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
I'm not sure I will ever learn. For some misguided reason I always choose the "extended version" of films whenever the option is presented. As though I am expecting to get more bang-for-my-buck I ignore my better sense and usually regret doing so. The extended cut of A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST is waaay too long and overstays its welcome by at least 30 minutes. 2 Hours is far too long for this type of puerile brand of movie. I am going to have to watch the theatrical cut now and I suspect it will resonate with me in a much stronger way... because despite this grievance I really enjoyed it. Seth MacFarlane has successfully forged his own unique brand of humour over the past few years and watching him subtly (and not so subtly) push the PC envelope is wonderful to see. He has a knack for presenting thinly veiled social statements within the context of vulgarity and juvenility. It resonates with some people and completely sidesteps others. A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST is his latest offering and takes place in the wild west with MacFarlane's character observing his community with modern and progressive eyes. It is more or less a one-joke movie with the harsh and brutal nature of the era being showcased in a series of set-ups and one liners. I can see how the film will irritate people but my good fortune lays with my unbelievably puerile personality. The observations and ongoing gags did amuse the hell out of me and as I have always said, when all else fails in comedy... throw in a fart joke... A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST is full of fart jokes! MacFarlane leads the ensemble cast well and his charming and likable personality lends an endearing quality to his character. Alongside him are wonderfully satirical performances from Sarah Silverman, Giovanni Ribisi, Neil Patrick Harris, Amanda Seyfried and Charlize Theron. They're all good but sadly Liam Neeson (as the stereotypical outlaw bad guy) phones in his performance. Looking old and weary he seems out of place... and oddly out of his depth. All in all this is a solid comedy and I did belly laugh through most of it. If only I had watched the shorter cut, perhaps the comedic set-ups would have been less padded and more cohesive. Nevertheless the satire was rich and the observations were spot-on. Two obscure cameo appearances by two very recognisable characters from other films really did the trick for me... and the moustache dance-off hit the spot. Very fun stuff and too jovial by nature for me to pay out on.