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Summer movie preview: 'A Million Ways to Die in the West'

By Alex Sferrazza
On March 31, 2014

The biggest man in modern comedy is at it again. Seth MacFarlane, creator of the hit animated FOX sitcom "Family Guy," will soon release his second feature film to theatres everywhere.
"A Million Ways to Die in the West" is directed by and stars MacFarlane, while his "Family Guy" co-writers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild return to assist the comic with the screenplay, as they have previously done with "Ted."
Speaking of the 2012 blockbuster, "Ted," MacFarlane's debut feature, stands as one of the highest grossing original R-rated comedies of all time, racking up just under $550 million at the worldwide box office. A sequel is currently planned.
Suffice it to say, the pressure is on for MacFarlane and Co. to live up to their prior success.
"A Million Ways to Die in the West" is a comedy western and will inevitably be compared to the greatest film ever to take place in both of those genres: Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles."
Set in the old west, the film follows the exploits of a cowardly sheep farmer (MacFarlane) who loses his girlfriend after he backs out of a duel. He gains some courage after meeting a mysterious new woman, and his bravery is put to the test when the woman's outlaw husband comes to town.

In addition to MacFarlane himself, the film is composed of an all-star cast featuring some of the biggest A-List stars in Hollywood today: Neil Patrick Harris, Liam Neeson, Sarah Silverman, Bill Maher, Amanda Seyfried, Gilbert Gottfried and Charlize Theron are all in the cast along with Giovanni Ribisi, best known as the antagonist of "Ted."

Rumor has it, a certain character from one of MacFarlane's favorite films, played by Christopher Lloyd, might just have a cameo appearance.
The film won't be shying away from a hard R-rating either. In a brilliant marketing move, the film's Super Bowl pre-game ad simply featured a conversation between MacFarlane and the ever-popular Ted the bear that directed fans to check out the film's (fairly graphic) trailer online.
If its trailers are any indication, "A Million Ways" looks to be as brutal as it is bitingly funny. A series of random violent deaths - crushed by an ice block, shootouts, engulfed by flames - are interspersed with moments of MacFarlane's traditionally edgy humor. Silverman (who plays a prostitute) trades lines with Ribisi that highlight these bits.
Additionally, to help promote the film, MacFarlane released a companion book in early March: "Seth MacFarlane's A Million Ways to Die in the West: A Novel" based on the film script.
"A Million Ways to Die in the West" hits theaters nationwide on May 30.

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