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Movie review: ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ puts its spurs into parody

By Sean P. Means

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published May 29 2014 03:02 pm • Last Updated Jun 02 2014 12:23 pm

In "A Million Ways to Die in the West," director Seth McFarlane delivers a giddily profane parody of Westerns that’s really funny, but won’t make anyone forget "Blazing Saddles."

McFarlane stars as Albert Stark, a timid sheep farmer in Arizona in 1882 who bemoans having to live in a place and time where "everything that’s not you is trying to kill you." Having lost his girlfriend Louise (Amanda Seyfried) to the rich Foy (Neil Patrick Harris), Albert aims to win her back. He receives a confidence boost and shooting lessons from a comely newcomer, Anna (Charlize Theron), and starts falling for her, not knowing that she’s married to the West’s most notorious gunfighter, Clinch Leatherwood (Liam Neeson).

At a glance

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‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’

Opens Friday, May 30, at theaters everywhere; rated R for strong crude and sexual content, language throughout, some violence and drug material; 116 minutes.

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The script, by McFarlane and "Family Guy" cohorts Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild, serves up sharp, bawdy mockery of Western conventions, while McFarlane gets maximum mileage out of Utah’s Monument Valley. (Most of the movie, though, was shot in New Mexico.)

As a leading man, however, McFarlane seems more comfortable wise-cracking on the sidelines than committing to his character.

movies@sltrib.com; www.sltrib.com/entertainment




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