A Million Ways to be Impressed With the West

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The plot is as clichéd and old as the hills… but it’s executed brilliantly.

**Spoiler alert.**

Albert Stark is the generic hero left broken-hearted by his unworthy girlfriend – until he meets Anna. Anna pretends to be his girlfriend in order to make his ex jealous. Then of course Stark falls for Anna in the process, only to find out she’s married to the big bad guy – Clinch (aka Liam Neeson, who is as hilariously awkward running with a gun as he was in the Taken films) Big bad guy is defeated, boy gets girl, happy ending.
…But this is a Seth MacFarlane film, and he’s pretty damn good at subverting the expectations. Particularly with amazingly unexpected cameo appearances, it seems. To name a few:
– Ryan Reynolds as a random cowboy with a five second appearance in which he gets shot.
– Ewan McGregor as a Cowboy at the fair.
– Christopher Lloyd – In character as Doc Brown!
– Gilbert Gottfried as Abe Lincoln.
– Jamie Foxx – in character as Django!
…So I was partially bouncing up and down in my seat with excitement when I saw these tip-of-the-hats to some of my favourite movies. And they worked so well!
But MacFarlane also subverts the expectations by taking a cliché, walking us up a familiar path with it, only to throw us off a cliff. For instance, in the usual ‘aha! The big reveal! This is how I cleverly beat you, bad guy!” moment, he’s cut short by the fact Clinch died a while back in his speech, and nobody got to see “how really clever” he’d been.
But most importantly as a comedy, the film was funny. There were a few crude moments – but that’s to be expected. And for once, this comedy’s funny bits weren’t all shown in the trailer. In fact, some of the film’s funnier moments weren’t in it. Stark’s acid trip, the moustache song, and many other hilarities set this film apart from others like it. I couldn’t fault the acting or the casting, and I fully enjoyed it.
Even if your sense of humour isn’t dark or warped, you should be able to appreciate the sarcasm, quick wit and irony in this film. I’d highly recommend going to see this film… Although I’ve probably just ruined a lot of it for you.

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