“A Million Ways to Die in the West” a Failed Comedy

imageA spectacular fail on the great wide expanse of the American Wild West, writer/director Seth MacFarlane follows up his deliriously ribald Ted with the supremely unfunny frontier comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West (F). Casting himself in the lead role is honestly the first way MacFarlane demonstrates painful western death, with a cloyingly modern but childish sensibility and an utter lack of awareness inhibiting his protagonist’s basic story needs of winning the girl and defeating the villain. His character is largely a tool (pun intended) to observe how pointless living in the west was and to drone on and belabor this thesis with an escalating series of violent or puerile sight gags. Charlize Theron is the only cast member who leaves this blazing prattle unscathed. Lame jokes and dumb pratfalls abound while there are missed opportunities for real satire. MacFarlane as triple threat makes a terrible leading man, acting from a dopey script in an excessive and lugubriously paced summer tentpole comedy. Hopefully for Universal Studios, this vanity project required little more than letting an enfant terrible run amuck on a backlot and in the desert for a few weeks. These gunslingers needed more zingers to justify more than two hours of oppressive running time.