Jan Wahl Movie Review: ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’

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Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris and Seth MacFarlane in 'A Million Ways To Die In The West' (Universal Pictures)

Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris and Seth MacFarlane in ‘A Million Ways To Die In The West’ (Universal Pictures)

JanWahl20100909_KCBS_0564r Jan Wahl
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You can hear KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl’s movie reviews on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM Fridays at 8:53am & 4:53pm.

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl reviews “A Million Days to Die in the West,” a comedy-western from writer-director Seth MacFarlane (“Family Guy,” “Ted”) that follows a cowardly farmer (MacFarlane) as he learns to stand his ground with the help of a woman (Charlize Theron) in the face of a notorious outlaw (Liam Neeson).

Jan Wahl Movie Review: ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’

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A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST (R) 116 min

From the classic “Blazing Saddles” to Bob Hope as Peerless Potter in “Pale Face” to Doris Day’s own favorite “Calamity Jane,” the great American West has always been a perfect setting for satire and comedy. Writer/director and star Seth MacFarlane takes this on and gives us a half-funny movie. It’s a parody that combines John Ford’s Monument Valley with a really funny point of view: that living at this time in a small town was the worst—violent, dangerous and disgusting. MacFarlane has made some of this very funny, especially the town prostitute played by Sarah Silverman and the contrasts between his character—an articulate but cowardly sheep herder—and the simpletons surrounding him. Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Neil Patrick Harris and others play their parts perfectly and laugh-out-loud moments do occur. But now the bad news: the last third of the film is full of scatological imagery that brings it all down. It makes the campfire scene in “Blazing Saddles” play like Cole Porter. When you see Neil Patrick Harris about to take part in gunfight and takes off his hat off, just look away! I certainly wish that I had done so. So half-of-a-good movie it is.

SEE NOW: BELLE, FADING GIGOLO, THE GERMAN DOCTOR, BELLE, THE IMMIGRANT, CHEF

DVD: THE MONUMENTS MEN, THE ANGRIEST MAN IN BROOKLYN

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