If this movie was a horse it would have been shot at the hour mark for pulling up lame, writes reviewer Russell Baillie.

He might have been a real teddy bear. Or at least he was in Ted, where he directed, voiced and motion-captured the titular crude character to a runaway box office hit.

But now Seth MacFarlane is out from behind the fur and whole lot less cuddly.

The Family Guy creator and one-man entertainment conglomerate is front and centre here, directing himself and famous friends in a live-action Western spoof. It's a movie that might well be described as "cartoon-ish", if that didn't imply it was funny, colourful and to the point.

A new Blazing Saddles? Don't be silly. Because just like its title, One Million ... is long, lazy and stupid.


Yes, if this movie was a horse it would have been shot at the hour mark for pulling up lame.

But it limps along for another hour - picking up a bit in the second half with a peyote-induced animated dream sequence that makes a change from MacFarlane's cram-it-all-in verbal riffing at his co-stars everywhere else.

Nearly two hours is way too long for a comedy of so few jokes per minute. It does have a few running gags. Well, not so much running as staggering in a three-legged race of lap after lap.

Trailer: A Million Ways to Die in The West

There's also a couple of ethnic jokes, one about Parkinson's Disease (which Ted did too) and a splattering of designed-to-shock moments of random gore and bodily functions. Nothing much sticks though.

And it's all built on a premise that the Old West was a nasty place. Hear that Deadwood fans? Here, that just becomes a long whining stand-up routine by MacFarlane's character whose 1880s Arizona sheep farmer is gifted early 21st century hindsight about a time and place that Hollywood stopped romanticising long ago.

His character talks as if he's just landed in the Old West in a time-travelling DeLorean. Which might be funny if ... well if it was funny.

But no, he's Albert Stark, a sheepish sheep farmer who lives outside Old Stump, Arizona.


His schoolteacher girlfriend Louise (Seyfried) dumps him for the owner of the foppish local moustache-grooming outlet Foy (Harris) but he meets Anna (Theron), a sharp-shooting stranger who we know is actually the wife of local bandit Clinch (Neeson) who has sent her to town to hide out.

Albert challenges Foy to a gunfight despite not being able to shoot. Anna teaches him. Love blooms during the target practice. Clinch returns, angry.

That's about it for story.

There is a sideline involving Albert's friends Edward (Giovanni Ribisi) and Ruth (Sarah Silverman), an engaged couple trying to reconcile their Christianity with the temptations of pre-marital sex and her job as a local whore. Er, boom boom.

But mostly this is Albert and Anna getting to know each other in between the montages and the default wideshots to the buttes of Monument Valley.

As Anna, it must be said, Theron's easy charm and screen presence certainly helps make up for MacFarlane's lack of leading-manliness.

The funniest thing about One Million Ways ...? How come McFarlane was much more convincing as Ted than he is here as a real person.


Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris, Liam Neeson


Seth MacFarlane


R16 (Violence, sexual references, offensive language, drug use)

Running time:

116 mins


Blazing Saddles

for dummies and MacFarlane fans.

- TimeOut