Directed by: Jorma Taccone Cast: Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Philippe, Val Kilmer Running Time: 1 hr 22 mins Rating: R Release Date: May 21, 2010
PLOT: A dim-witted all-American operative named MacGruber (Forte) must stop his nemesis Dieter Von Cunth (Kilmer) from detonating a nuclear warhead.
WHO'S IT FOR?: Those who have laughed with this character before on "Saturday Night Live" will be able to do so again here, but outsiders must be warned that this is a particular breed of mindless comedy. Also, if you do decide to see this one, go with a friend - the mission of enjoying a movie of this brand is impossible if one goes lone wolf.
EXPECTATIONS: I felt like I would have an advantage in enjoying this movie as I have a cozy spot in my heart for Hot Rod, another movie with SNL roots that looked like it would share MacGruber's humor. Would this movie be funnier than MacGruber's own Twitter account, @Grubes69?
Will Forte as MacGruber: Originally this character was a parody of action hero MacGyver, but MacGruber has become his own animal. With a flannel shirt accompanied by a vest and a grade-American mullet, he’s the ultimate patriot, even if he is frozen in the 80’s. Forte can do great things with this character – there are some great moments of hilarious crying, homemade gadget utilization, and even awkward lovemaking. At times the goal of making MacGruber into the dumbest person alive falls flat, but more than not it soars. Score: 7
The rest of the cast: Val Kilmer has a lot of fun with his stereotypical bad guy character, who has personality traits like having a weird art fascination, a bad haircut, and an almost robotic mortality. Also game for the silly antics is Ryan Philippe, who does well playing the straight-faced polar opposite to MacGruber’s idiocy. The best overall supporting work is probably from the spunky Kristen Wiig, who essentially ends up as the female-equivalent of MacGruber (literally, she dresses up like him for one occasion). Props go to Powers Boothe for nailing the small cliche role of Old Crusty General. Score: 6
TALKING: The movie's funniest dialogue can be heard whenever MacGruber is parodying the macho-utterings heard in movies like Rambo, etc. MacGruber has some great cliche one-liners also. Score: 7
SIGHTS: To illuminate the importance of his presence, MacGruber is always shown with strong lighting behind him. His consistent glow works in that it also makes him a special kind of action hero (other “vigilantes” don’t have the same effect). As for other SNL cast appearances, Maya Rudolph is the only noticeable face that donates a cameo to MacGruber's cause. Score: 6
SOUNDS: MacGruber is committed to his radio, (he carries it around with him, literally) so it's only fitting that he is accompanied by extremely 80’s music, which are more often than not ballads. Mr. Mister and Michael Bolton are heard whenever MacGruber is on a mission, cruising in his convertible. MacGruber has his own theme song, heard during the credits, but it's not as monumental as it could be. Score: 6
BEST SCENE: About thirty minutes into the film, I realized that movie had effortlessly pulled off all of the following clichés – an action hero comes out of hiding, his partner dies, he is taken off a case, and he can’t get another partner to sign on (for emotional reasons). Though I did laugh a decent amount with the film, I thought this to be its best accomplishment.
ENDING: There won't be a sequel. And for a movie that parodies the action genre, MacGruber has a surprisingly anti-climactic final line.
QUESTIONS: I am assuming that this movie could get made start-to-finish in almost a year's time because it had a relatively small budget?
REWATCHABILITY: I didn’t immediately catch onto the greatness of Hot Rod (yes, I used the word “great”) until my second viewing. Perhaps this is also the case with MacGruber?
A wholly idiotic flick like MacGruber is most enjoyable as a parody, a mindset that would deliver smoother were it not traveling a road already paved by movies like Team America: World Police. Though it’s about a man who can make weapons out of the most random of objects (something he hardly does here), MacGruber works best when it parodies the seriousness of action movies, especially with those cliché tough-guy exchanges of bad dialogue.
Whether it’s an explosive laugh or a few giggles of amusement, MacGruber retains a laugh-a-scene ratio throughout, something that seems increasingly possible the more one can completely sever all connections of their brain from their funny bone.
FINAL SCORE: 6/10