Claremore Daily Progress

Community News

June 4, 2014

‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ in Claremore

CLAREMORE —

Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane’s first movie, “Ted” was mostly on-target but still showed signs of undisciplined, “Family Guy”-like self-indulgence. 
MacFarlane’s second film, “A Million Ways to Die in the West” (again directed and co-written with “Family Guy” collaborators Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild) goes even further with this pattern, stretching out a handful of genuine (if crude) laughs longer than it should. 
Whereas six or seven real chuckles in 22 minutes (the average running time of an episode of “Family Guy,” minus the commercials) isn’t bad, about the same number of laughs stretched out over an hour or more (“A Million Ways to Die in the West” has a running time of 117 minutes) can test the patience of even the most die-hard MacFarlane fan (of which, I’m not one). 
Much of what fills in the gaps between the best (and “best” is relative here, as MacFarlane’s humor is of the “love it or hate it” variety) moments in “A Million Ways to Die in the West” are scenes involving some of the most vulgar language and situations ever committed to film. Very vulgar. Really, really vulgar.
But I digress...
MacFarlane, in his first major role as a human being (again —relative), plays Albert Stark, a cowardly sheep farmer in the Old West whose daily routine is to provide oddly anachronistic running commentary on the deplorable conditions of frontier living. 
In Arizona in the 1880s, death can come at any moment from violence, disease, Indian attack, a minor injury, or even a trip to the doctor.  Albert is the only one who seems to be bothered by how perilous the times are, and he riffs on it constantly to whoever’s within earshot, including his friend Edward (Giovanni Ribisi), Edward’s literal whore of a girlfriend, Ruth (Sarah Silverman), and Albert’s own romantic interest, Louise (Amanda Seyfried). He’s like a congenial stand-up comic who’s always “on.”

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