When "A Million Ways to Die in the West" is working, it has a charming leading man in its director/producer/co-writer, Seth MacFarlane, creator of "Family Guy" and the feature film, "Ted", a very successful raunchy comedy from 2012. He plays Albert Stark, a sheep herder disillusioned with the violent world of the Old West. He's got great chemistry with his co-star, Charlize Theron, played Anna, a new visitor to Stark's town. MacFarlane may not be the world's most natural actor - he is forced to rely upon staging his scenes like stand-up routines for the most part, mostly giving monologues to the other characters. But this character works well when just being a nerdy rancher completely out of his depth in this cliche town. The core of the movie is solid.
...Then it's all spoiled when the "Family Guy"-style humor creeps in. Gags are recycled without mercy, some of the worst jokes in the film are given the most time, such as shameless reference to "Back to the Future 3", and worst of all, terrible toilet humor cuts in. You have MacFarlane making a pretty funny and natural sounding riff about "a full load", which gets believable laughter from his co-star, and then suddenly a scene later we got sheep dick. Big sheep hard-ons pissing on the actor's face. Thanks, MacFarlane. Do you have any idea how awful I feel having to write about the reproductive systems of livestock? And that's not the only sheep dick scene, there are two. One actor takes a runny shit into a ten-gallon hat, and then goes right on to take another shit in another man's hat. What happened to the charming Western parody I enjoyed? Gone, literally replaced by shit. The movie is still generally a positive experience, but how can I justify this? How can anybody?