Seth MacFarlane aims low in ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’

May 29, 2014 11:11 PM

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Seth MacFarlane aims low in ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’

Seth MacFarlane is a pleasant looking fellow with the black eyes and tight, toothy smile of a shark. Most sharks don’t care what we think of them, but this one does. MacFarlane’s physical appearance was never an issue when he was a behind-the-scenes force as the foul-minded creator of “Family Guy,” Fox’s sub-“Simpsons”/“South Park” animated comedy hit. He was emboldened, though, by 2012’s “Ted,” a rude, hilarious tale of a boy and his talking teddy bear that MacFarlane wrote and directed, and with his 2013 gig as Oscar host, he came out of the closet as a wannabe star. You can love him or hate him, but with the cheerfully terrible sagebrush comedy “A Million Ways to Die in the West,” it’s clear what MacFarlane is shooting for — nothing less than the chance to be both the Bob Hope and the Mel Brooks of his generation.

Be careful what you wish for. As a director, MacFarlane has taken a step back: This bloated comic western rambles on for 116 overlong minutes, and the slack editing leaves gaps a wagon train could ride through. Worse, it’s just not very funny. Gross, sure, and outrageous, and “shocking,” if that wor...

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