I'm not a huge fan of westerns. I'm also not a huge fan of live-action comedies, because they rarely work for me on the big screen. But I have to say that the idea of making a modernised western parody is definitely unconventional enough for me to take a look at it. And after watching this film, I understand why it's rarely done.
A Million Ways To Die In The West was an awkward film for me. Its failure is not in writing, as there is a clear tone and ambition. But instead it fails on being any semblence of memorable or quotable. It features a stellar cast of well-known actors and actresses, has a healthy dose of references to other western films, and the occasional genuine laugh, but these all proved insufficient relief from a uncanny execution of an uneasy film to sit through. This film's switching between serious and parody has the same tempo as a runner alternating between sprinting and powerwalking every 10 seconds.
Also it was a very crude film surrounding a very mild-mannered protagonist who doesn't really get developed in any serious way, and has arguably the most underwhelming, lackluster presence in the film despite getting the most screen time.
Overall the film isn't bad enough to deserve a full on critical beating, but there are many of the jokes that tip-toe between bashfully teasing and outright offensive/inappropriate, which makes it a bold move with limited success. It isn't the Western equivalent to the despicable Movie 43, but it's nowhere near a Django Unchained either.
I commend it for trying to do something different, it's just that the film lacked subtlety, commitment in being a parody, emotional understanding of people in general, and definitely needed re-scripting to balance the time period against its unrelenting modern-speak. I'd say give this one a skip unless you got a paycheck and two hours to waste.
3.5 / 10.0