A little raunch on the ranch

Seth MacFarlane in A Million Ways to Die in the West

Seth MacFarlane in A Million Ways to Die in the West

Promo poster for the new film 'A Million Ways To Die In the West'.

Promo poster for the new film 'A Million Ways To Die In the West'.

THE man behind Family Guy and American Dad, Seth MacFarlane steps behind the camera for the second time in A Million Ways to Die in the West, the directorial follow-up to 2012's box office hit Ted.

Featuring a stellar cast including Charlize Theron (The Italian Job), Amanda Seyfried (Les Miserables), Liam Neeson (Taken), and Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) alongside MacFarlane in his first on-screen acting role, A Million Ways has all the elements to make a classic comedy film, but as a whole doesn't quite deliver the warmth and genuine connection to the audience that made Ted such an enjoyable watch.

Despite this, there are some truly hilarious moments that are worth the admission price.

The story follows Albert Stark (MacFarlane) in the aftermath of his breakup from girlfriend Louise (an under-used Seyfried, who suits the period dress perfectly).

Louise takes up with Foy (Harris, seemingly still playing a winking Barney Stinson), owner of the prestigious town moustacherie, and Albert vows to win her back.

Soon, mysterious bandit Anna Barnes (Theron, revelling in her foul-mouthed opportunity to tackle comedy) rolls into town and teaches the hapless Albert how to beat Foy in a gunfight.

Typical, yet amusing, training montages ensue, even though the chemistry between Theron and MacFarlane could benefit from more spark.

As Ted had a memorable original song - Thunder Buddies - A Million Ways to Die in the West features a reworked version of period songwriter Stephen Foster's If You've Only Got a Moustache, and a hilarious dance routine to match.

There are several unexpected and very welcome cameos dotting the film, and more than one cross-movie appearance that will undoubtedly make film buffs giddy with delight.

Despite favourite Mila Kunis not appearing in the film, MacFarlane cleverly manages to slip her name into the dialogue.

Boiled down, A Million Ways to Die in the West is largely a modern formulaic rom-com set in 1882 Arizona . . . albeit a very raunchy one.

There are plenty of genuine laughs to be found, but there's also a lot of frat boy humour that brings down the good stuff. Timing can also be a problem, as some scenes almost seem to be missing a laugh track.

Filled with colourful language, overt sexual references, toilet humour, and numerous moments of comedy gold, A Million Ways to Die in the West is a weaker film than Seth MacFarlane's debut Ted, but fans of the writer-director's unique brand of humour should enjoy it immensely.

A Million Ways to Die in the West is in cinemas now, and is rated MA.

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