One Way to Kill a Laugh


Not one laugh in the west


We love Westerns, and we are horrified by something called A Million Ways to Die in the West. If writer/producer/director/star Seth McFarlane thinks he is any of the above, we beg to differ. This is not Orson Welles making a movie; it is not even Woody Allen doing a parody.

An alleged comedy/satire/burlesque/parody, this stinkeroo may be considered a misfire by a Gatling gun.

This film tries to juxtapose modern parlance of the main character Albert with everyone else in Western veneer. Filled with witless profanity and ugly sexual references, the humor must be knocking them dead if audiences are high on dope.

A big budget, high gloss film, the movie has elements of music that reminds one the big westerns of the 1950s. Scenery and plot holes are right out of the heyday of oaters. We almost wish this had been toned down to a reasonable bad movie. Instead, this film is a colossal misstep, working hard to do pratfalls.

Oh, a few performers always shine no matter how deep in sheep dip their movie paycheck can be found. Neil Patrick Harris and Liam Neeson actually rise above the material, though it would only take one step up on the step-ladder to achieve this height.

One heavy stepping dance sequence makes us yearn for Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, but instead we have flatulence jokes that Blazing Saddles wore out forty years ago.

The concept of the picture seems to be that the West was a dangerous place filled with menace and sickness. Most of that is in the mind of Seth McFarlane who has seen enough Westerns to miss their point.

Taking most set-ups in western movies, this story goes from one gag to another, making foul language and brutality the stuff of humor.

We rate this movie: “Just Awful.”