I don’t know Seth MacFarlane. I’ve never seen Family Guy, or Ted, or his apparently squirmy presentation at the Oscars. I’ve never seen him interviewed or read an opinion piece on him. So I came to A Million Ways to Die in the West with no expectations whatsoever. Which was a good thing, I think. The movie’s basically a 90 minute running gag about the sheer awfulness of life in the Wild West where life is nasty, brutish and short (who said that?)
MacFarlane plays a cowardly sheep farmer who runs up against Liam Neeson, the nastiest man on the frontier. Charlize Theron is Anna who has to teach him to shoot. Charlize – who’s got a bit of a reputation for ill-humour, this side of the pond – is the biggest surprise here; her good-natured banter is perfectly timed, and the growing friendship with Seth is totally winning – their chemistry is actually delightful. Aside from that, the humour is expectedly coarse and smutty, and the western movie sets in and around Santa Fe look like studio sets, but whatever. It’s not Jane Austen, but if you can set aside your preconceived prejudices about moon faced Seth, it’s a fun way to pass an evening.