A Million Ways to Die in the West

Granted, there’s modern-day slang in Blazing Saddles (1974), which many would call the greatest western comedy ever. But what does it say about a writer-director when all the other people on his team—the location scouts, the production designer, the costume designer, the props manager, the title designer—strive for period authenticity while the boss lazily tells his story in, like, totally whatever dialogue? Despite all the costumes, stunt work, and locations in Monument Valley, this big-budget western spoof by Seth MacFarlane (Ted, Fox’s Family Guy) is too glib to live up to its potential. MacFarlane has a solid comic angle, scoring numerous laughs off the brutal living conditions of the old west, but his hyperactive riffing as the hero, emulated by Charlize Theron as his love interest, tends to spoil any jokes that don’t involve urine, semen, horse manure, or diarrhea. Didn’t anybody tell these guys that cowboys are tight-lipped? With Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson, Sarah Silverman, Giovanni Ribisi, and Neil Patrick Harris.