Seth MacFarlane’s feature directing debut Ted was a pretty foul-mouthed affair, and it comes as no surprise to learn that his sophomore project A Million Ways to Die in the West will be equally (if not even more) off-the-charts with its raunchy humor. The marketing push for MacFarlane’s western comedy got properly started yesterday with the release of eight posters – all but one featuring a character with their own punny tagline – and today, we have a three-minute red band preview to add to the pile.
A Million Ways to Die in the West takes place in Arizona in the year 1882, where a cowardly sheepherder named Albert (MacFarlane) gets dumped by his girlfriend (Amanda Seyfried) after skipping out on a gunfight. He lands on his feet with some help from a lady gunslinger (Charlize Theron), who mentors him in the art of shooting – just in time for her outlaw husband (Liam Neeson) to show up, no less.
MacFarlane’s shtick in the film appears to be constantly kvetching Woody Allen-style about the dangers of the wild west, while the red band trailer footage likewise makes A Million Ways to Die in the West seem to resemble Allen’s “slapdash spoofery” from his early 1970s filmmaking days in such genre send-ups as Sleeper and Love and Death. Here, of course, Allen’s famous neurotic irreverence has been swapped out for the kind of comically-exaggerated violence you often find on MacFarlane cartoons like Family Guy and American Dad, plus the R-Rated wordplay and verbal jokes from Ted.
In a refreshing (and unexpected) twist, it appears that the A Million Ways to Die in the West script – co-written by MacFarlane with his Ted collaborators Alec Sulkin and Wesley Wild (who’re also working on the sequel) - may have less pop culture referencing than MacFarlane is known for. That could also just be due to how the trailer is constructed, though, since there are plenty of other familiar joke setups from the MacFarlane school of comedy glimpsed here (impromptu musical numbers, celebrities riffing on their screen personas, etc.).
All in all, though, between the red band trailer footage and cast – which includes Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman and Giovanni Ribisi – A Million Ways to Die in the West seems like a must-see for people who love all things MacFarlane; even those who aren’t so keen on his cartoons might want to consider giving this laughfest a try.
A Million Ways to Die in the West opens in U.S. theaters on May 30th, 2014.