A Million Ways to Die in the West review (Blu-ray)

OK Hollywood, from now on, all the comedy films have to star Charlize Theron. ALL the comedies. Got it? Because if there is one thing you will take away from A Million Ways to Die in the West, it's that Theron is a VERY funny actress.

As for the rest of MacFarlane's comedy western? It's fine. It's certainly no Blazing Saddles, that's for sure. For a start, MacFarlane's Albert Stark is no sherrif or gunslinger. He's a sheep farmer, and as he keeps telling us, he doesn't belong in the west. He hates it. It's dirty, and deadly. And his girlfriend Louise (Seyfried) has just dumped him, because although he's a nice guy (as everyone keeps telling her), he's also a bit of a coward. But Albert's luck changes when he meets Anna (Theron), a new girl in town who is not only beautiful, sweet and funny, but also happens to be a crack shot and so teaches Albert how to shoot. A romance blooms, but there's a catch – Anna is married to Clinch Leatherwood (the excellent Neeson).

A Million Ways to Die is chock-full of MacFarlane's trademark foul-mouthed, gross-out humour, but it's nowhere near as funny as it could have been. Like so many modern comedies, it's a tad too long. And many of the scenes seem to go on too long as well - the occasional joke does feel like it's dragged out. Seth's a smart man (as co-writer, producer, director and star, he cast one of the worl'd most beautiful actresses as his love interest), but putting himself in the lead role was possibly not the wisest move. This is his first film in which he is actually in front of the camera - until now, most of his acting has been confined to simply providing the voices (see Family Guy and Ted). It just feels like it's maybe too big a jump. His talent is not in doubt, but perhaps the film suffers a bit from Seth taking on too many jobs?

The film is let down a little from having an amazingly talented cast who are not given an awful lot to do. The always-funny Harris is wonderful when on screen, but he is somewhat underused. Ditto Ribisi and Silverman as Edward and Ruth, an engaged couple who are waiting until they get married before they have sex (they're Christians). It just so happens that Ruth happens to be the town hooker. It's a funny joke, but it's about the only joke these two get.

For all its faults, though, A Million Ways to Die in the West is still fun. If you're a fan of MacFarlane's bawdy humour, then you'll find a lot to laugh at. While some of the gags fall flat, most actually hit their mark. There are a couple of terrific surprise cameos, and the romance at the core of the film is somewhat sweet – there is genuine chemistry between Seth and Charlize. It looks beautiful, especially the sweeping grandeur of Monument Valley. It's nowhere near as funny as Ted, but A Million Ways to Die in the West is certainly not a misfire. Now Hollywood, let's talk about Charlize Theron's future as a comedy star ...

EXTRAS ★★★★ There are two versions of the movie on the disc - the theatrical cut (1:55:54), and a longer "unrated" cut (2:14:44). There's also an audio commentary with star/director/writer MacFarlane in which he's joined by costar Theron and cowriters Sulkin and Wellesley Wild; an alternate opening (3:27); and alternate ending (0:47); the featurette The Good, The Badd and the Increasingly Decreasing Population (6:41), which looks at some of the cameos in the film including Jamie Foxx, Ewan McGregor, Bill Maher, Ryan Reynolds and Christopher "Doc Brown" Lloyd; seven Deleted/Extended/Alternate scenes (10:49); a Gag Reel (5:43); the behind-the-scenes featurette Once Upon A Time, In A Different West (10:06); and the behind-the-scenes featurette A Fistful Of Dirt... In Your Mouth (10:49).

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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