Can Seth MacFarlane carry a film to which he lends more than just his voice? Where his whole personage appears onscreen, rather than just his voice? We won’t find out for a few months, but this first trailer for his A Million Ways to Die in the West plays it very safe. Just in case MacFarlane’s charisma doesn’t extend beyond his voice, that damn talking bear still shows up for a few seconds. It’s just long enough to make a hand sex joke and then beat a hasty retreat. The millions upon millions of bros who saw Ted can rest easy.
But unlike Ted, where MacFarlane more or less transplanted his Family Guy shtick into a bear-shaped package and called it a day, A Million Ways to Die calls upon the funnyman to venture outside his usual crass voice-acting turf. Here, he neither sounds nor acts like any of his staple cartoon character personas; instead, he’s Albert, a meek and unassuming sheep farmer in the old West. Albert shies away from a gunfight and loses his girlfriend in the process. Yet when a new love (Charlize Theron) comes along, Albert sheds his cowardly exterior and begins learning the ways of the manly-man cowboy- that is, until her husband (Liam Neeson) rides into town, vowing revenge.
This being a MacFarlane outing, the air is filled with crudeness and sex jokes and dirty words galore. And as the title suggests, there’s plenty of gore too. The West is a dangerous place, and MacFarlane illustrates that with all the subtlety you’d expect: random crushings, maulings, impalements, shootings, stabbings, tramplings, medical malpractice-ings and deadly blazes lurk around every corner for this sleepy little town’s inhabitants. Killing off a handful of stuntmen looks to be the substitute for MacFarlane’s usual cutaway gags.
The cast, at least, is mighty impressive – featuring Neil Patrick Harris, Amanda Seyfried, Giovanni Ribisi, and Sarah Silverman. If you’re gonna fill a movie with sex and farts and entrails, these are the folks you do it with.
Check out the trailer for A Million Ways to Die in the West below.
A Million Ways to Die in the West opens May 30th.