Seth McFarlane is back starring and directing in A Million Ways to Die in the West.  I read a few pretty bad reviews of this movie, but as I suspected, the usual crowd of critics panned it mostly for its crass humor.

Have they never seen an episode of Family Guy?

That isn’t to say the movie doesn’t have faults.  McFarlane’s acting is okay, but not a stand out.  He wisely surrounds himself with solid actors like Charlize Theron and Liam Neeson, who pick up most of the slack.  (One wonders if someone like Jesse Eisenberg would’ve knocked the whole neurotic guy in the west thing out of the park though.)  I think if Seth just worked on a few facial expressions, he’d emote a heckuva lot better.  But he is directing too, so that’s a lot of pressure.

The writing and direction are rock solid.  There are some amazing celebrity cameos.  Neil Patrick Harris does a great turn as a rival suitor for McFarlane’s girl.  Giovanni Ribisi is hilarious as his best friend who is in love with a prostitute.  And the characters and the story in general pays off.

Some of the jokes, especially the racial ones, you’ve heard like a million times on Family Guy.  McFarlane does a precarious balancing act between comedy with the characters in the Old West and purpose anachronisms.  I thought there were way more hits than misses overall.  Some of the screenplay has really smart moments and little tidbits of information.  But at some point most of that goes out the window in favor of the fart jokes, which are mostly funny, but again, one wonders what would’ve happened if McFarlane had stayed on the first path.  No doubt there was a bit of a battle between keeping a lot of the smart humor vs. what McFarlane fans would expect in the realm of dick jokes.  I could see why that would annoy a critic, but I still liked it.

Go see A Million Ways to Die in the West, bros.  The laugh to dollar ratio is solid.  I give it 8 out of 10 keggers.