Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Neil Patrick Harris, Amanda Seyfried (Rated MA 116 min).
The tumbleweed evolution of the western genre is almost as old as movies themselves, gunslingers riding through a town in a blaze of glory, bar room brawls and steely eyed duels across dusty streets. This western comedy is horseplay of a different kind which is exploited to the limit from the warped mind of Seth MacFarlane as writer, director and star.
One-time Academy Award ceremony host, creator of TED and animated television hit Family Guy comes his very own ‘Blazing Saddles’ for the new millennium. A rambunctious adventure in the 19th century Arizona wild west pushes the limits of crude scenarios. Beyond the smut are a few charming characters in a comedy designed to offend.
The premise of a cowardly farmer Albert, taking a fancy to a striking new woman in town Anna, until her shoot first, talk later husband Clinch, strolls into town, is really just a reason to string together multiple offensive-laden sight gags. Constantly aware of things that can kill, whatever it may be, MacFarlane embraces the panicky cowboy routine as Albert. His graphic explanations matched with visual observations of potential disaster is alarmingly accurate.
Charlize Theron shows wonderful comic timing as Anna, the dream girl of Albert’s affections. Amongst the regulated action set pieces of classic western movie homages mixed with sexual innuendo are song and dance routines. One in particular is a riotous Broadway inspired number in a saloon led by stage veteran Neil Patrick Harris. Sarah Silverman as the town madame may raise eyebrows as the town madame happy to let fly on all of her clients desires.
Cinematography of the barren country is gloriously captured on screen. A highlight for many will be a wonderful cameo appearance worth the price of admission alone. Recalling the western theme of the third installment, Back to the Future fans will be in for a magnificent treat much the same way Flash Gordon fans celebrated the homage to their science fiction icon in, TED.
Seth MacFarlane certainly knows his subject well in A Million Ways to Die in the West. Full of traditional clichés, robust identities, uncalled for sing-a-longs, profanity and yes, a town drunk, the cast are taking things seriously while chaos ensues around them. Forget your inhibitions, what else would you expect from a guy who made a lovable care bear type teddy obnoxious.
Shane A. BassettSydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.