Seth MacFarlane's voice is as ubiquitous as Siri's at this point, but those who skipped the 2013 Academy Awards probably haven't seen a whole lot of the man himself. This all changes on Friday (May 30), when MacFarlane — who let the bear do most of the grunt work in 2013's "Ted" — tries his hand at the leading man role in "A Million Ways To Die In The West."
Of course — MacFarlane being MacFarlane — the comedy-western still features a healthy amount of body humor, pop culture references, and jokes generally meant for 14-year-old boys. But will MacFarlane's big screen "debut" live up to his voice work from "Ted" and "Family Guy"? The critics aren't so sure. Read on for our review round-up.
The Unfair Comparison
"The obvious comparison here is to Mel Brooks' 'Blazing Saddles,' which is still the comic Western. It's not a fair comparison, though. Not only is that a revered classic, but it also had a wickedly subversive social conscious. The same cannot be said for 'A Million Ways to Die in the West.' But it is funny in it own right, pilgrim — especially for those who already consider themselves fans of MacFarlane's humor." — Mike Scott, The Times-Picayune
"The filmmaker is lucky to have such a swell cast, one game for the various humiliations visited upon them to get those laughs. Led by Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron, excellent even in the worst circumstances (see 2008's 'Hancock' for that), her pistol-packing Anna pretty much saves the movie, when she's not saving her man." — Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times
The Perfect Audience
"MacFarlane, who wrote the script with Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild, keeps the gags flying like hot lead out of a Colt .45. And for every three that don't land, one or two hit the bullseye. There are probably a few too many lazy fart and diarrhea jokes for some, but 14-year-old boys will love it." — Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly
"There are enough laughs scattered throughout 'A Million Ways to Die in the West' that while you’re watching it, the movie seems like a passable comedy. By the time you get home, though, you can barely remember the jokes. The things that stay with you are the dull, boilerplate love story, the laziest performance of Liam Neeson’s career as a murderous gunslinger and the distracting amount of makeup Seth MacFarlane sports in the film." — Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald
The Leading Man
"So does “A Million Ways to Die in the West” certify Mr. MacFarlane as a bona fide movie star? It’s too soon to tell. He demonstrates enough confidence to emerge relatively unscathed from the movie, which he produced, directed and wrote (with Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild), but he is far from imperial. At the same time, you wonder if someone else (maybe Jim Carrey) could have given Albert a stronger personality." — Stephen Holden, The New York Times