Seth MacFarlane has had one of the most surreal career arcs ever. First, his animated television show ‘Family Guy‘ was cancelled after two seasons, only to see skyrocketing DVD sales demand the series return. Then it became a monster hit. Since then, he’s added additional shows ‘American Dad,‘ ‘The Cleveland Show‘ (thought it recently ceased production) and the live action sitcom ‘Dads’ to his resume. Then, in 2012, his high concept comedy ‘Ted‘ hit theaters and became a runaway hit (nearly $550 million worldwide).
Now, after hosting the Oscars and killing off (and resurrecting) the Griffin’s dog Brian, MacFarlane is out to make us laugh at our frontier past with ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West.’ Set to open on May 30th, this ‘Blazing Saddles’ style send-up co-stars Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Giovanni Ribisi, Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman, and none other than Liam Neeson as a wanted gunslinger. We have a first look at the project from Universal, and while it’s definitely Not Safe for Work, it’s quite hilarious. Check it out:
Apparently, MacFarlane is a cowardly farmer who takes a fancy to Theron’s new girl in town. When he discovers that she is Neeson’s, he has to learn how to be less of a wuss and more of a typical six shooter before the bullet with his name on it arrives. From the preview, we see Silverman as a prostitute, Seyfried as the former gal pal MacFarlane is trying to impress, and NPH donning a dashing and debonair moustache. In keeping with ‘Family Guy”s level of illogical realities, everyone speaks in a strange combination of modern parlance and old fashioned formality. Similarly, MacFarlane’s character appears to be a variation on the famed Griffin mutt, conscious of the chaos around him and capable of a quick-witted quip or two before the hammer falls on his head as well.
With ‘Ted’ proving MacFarlane’s mantle as a filmmaker (he’s directing here as well, and co-wrote the script with ‘Family Guy’ faves Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild) and the amazing cast, look for this to be a refreshing change of pace from the superhero tentpole overload we’re about to face this Summer. While it may not have Mel Brooks’ sizzling social commentary, ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ proves once again that horse operas can be hilarious too.