A Million Ways to die and one of them is boredom

LANCE LIJEWSKI | Evergreen columnist

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There are a million ways to die in the west. Unfortunately boredom is one, and the casualties are audience members across the globe.

It’s been five days since Seth MacFarlane’s Western genre parody “A Million Ways to Die in the West” was released in theaters nationally. It’s also been five days since I wasted $11 on possibly the blandest comedy release of the summer. Please, do not make the same mistake.

After MacFarlane’s massive success in both “Family Guy” and “Ted,” expectations were high for this release. Instead, audience members are tricked into suffering through nearly two hours of an extended gag spawned by the underwhelming title.

It’s a faithful Western alright, but the execution is more brutal than most of the deaths in the film. While projecting a romanticized tale of revenge, the acting and the dull humor make a potentially strong picture weak.

The first issue was MacFarlane’s choice to cast himself as the whiney male protagonist.  Already tasked with writing, producing and directing the film, the decision was self-indulgent and not in the best interest of the entire production.

While taking the lead in a film that managed to score Charlize Theron as the love interest is an understandable act, MacFarlane should have taken a hit for the team. His performance was shockingly bland and forced Theron to carry all of the emotional weight.

The second issue was lazy writing that favored improvisation and nearly a dozen A-List cameos. Half of the dialogue missed the mark, and less-than-dramatic elements were dragged out for crude and unnecessary sight gags.

The only redeeming factor was the laugh-out-loud one-liners from Ewan McGregor, Bill Maher, Patrick Stewart and Gilbert Gottfried, among others. Seeing Christopher Lloyd return as “Doc” Brown, Jamie Foxx return as Django and Ryan Reynolds get his heart blasted through may be worth the ticket price alone.

However, the third and final issue is the imbalance of bathroom humor and more intelligent humor. There are several scenes involving projectile diarrhea, pissing sheep, computer-generated genitals and oral sex. These would be funny in the right context, but fit nowhere amidst the tongue-in-cheek tone of the film. 

In the end, MacFarlane’s second crack at the silver screen in “A Million Ways to Die in the West” deserves an eventual Red Box rental. As with MacFarlane’s poor attempt at hosting the Oscars in 2013, audience members will spend more time watching the film than actually remembering what happened.