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MacGruber (2010)

A 2010 comedy movie directed by Jorma Taccone.

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Some Characters Need No More Than a Minute of Your Time

  • May 26, 2010
The best thing about the "MacGruber" skits on "Saturday Night Live" is that they end after a minute, no more than a minute and a half. The writers are smart; they know that no additional time is required for us to get the joke, for us to understand that it's a parody of "MacGyver." MacGruber finds himself locked in a control room with a bomb only seconds away from detonating. He relies on his assistants for comically mundane items to help disarm the bomb. He gets distracted by something irrelevant. The bomb explodes. End of skit. We have a good laugh and then move on to this week's musical guest. The great disappointment of the film "MacGruber" is that, because we get the joke so early on, we have the remaining eighty-plus minutes to realize we're seeing a whole lot of the same thing over and over again.

While this movie does generate the occasional chuckle, it never really becomes funny, probably because it has little to work with other than its one-joke premise. Yes, the MacGruber character is vulgar and stupid and ill-mannered and stuck up and inept, but so what? Is there nothing else to go on, here? Even the original "Pink Panther" films had more going for them than the bumbling antics of Inspector Clouseau. He was a funny character put into funny situations, and most of the time, he was in the presence of other funny characters. MacGruber is an amusing character put into situations that are anything but funny, and his companions can only react drearily to his bad behavior. One of them is played by Ryan Phillippe, an actor I believe is accomplished enough to not have to resort to pulling down his pants and sticking a celery stalk where it ought not be stuck.

The plot: MacGruber, allegedly the best of the best when it comes to disarming weapons (Will Forte), is coaxed out of hiding in Ecuador upon learning that his arch nemesis (Val Kilmer) is in possession of a missile with nuclear capabilities. His original handpicked team (played mostly by WWE superstars) is lost rather unpleasantly, so he's forced to turn to his rival, Lt. Dixon Piper (Phillippe), and an old friend, Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig), who will serve no real purpose except to be an occasional MacGruber decoy, complete with a bad wig fashioned after his mullet.

That's about as much of the plot as you need to know. The filmmaker's aren't all that interested in the plot, anyway; they put all their effort into MacGruber's inane dialogue, mostly made up of thoughtless slips of the tongue, confrontational jabs, and crude four-letter words. I was particularly turned off by his begging for forgiveness; it's a recurring gag, and it involves him describing in excruciating detail what he's willing to do in order to be given a second chance. Had it only been used once, then maybe it might have been funny. When done more than once, it comes off as a desperate ploy for cheap laughs. The same can be said for two especially tasteless sex scenes, one of which involves a woman who ... let's just say she isn't quite what the average man is looking for in a partner. Both scenes begin decently enough, but then they abruptly cut to graphic alternate viewpoints and drop the mood-enhancing music, replacing it with overblown ambient noises.

And speaking of the music, it seems the more I search for an angle of approach, the more I realize that all I've got is the soundtrack, comprised mostly of wonderfully nostalgic `80s hits. I was especially happy with the inclusions of Mr. Mister's "Broken Wings" and Eddie Money's "Take Me Home Tonight," the latter I confess to making one of my regular YouTube searches. What can I say? I like that song. Some humor can be found in the opening theme song, which spoofs the slinky, heart-pounding tone of a typical `80s action series. Even then, one wonders why they had to include lyrics spelling out that we are, in fact, watching a movie. I figured that out long before I bought my ticket.

I suppose it would be too much to say that I hated "MacGruber," because truth be told, I've seen comedies much, much worse than this. Nevertheless, I didn't feel much of anything watching it. It was just kind of ... there on the screen, passing before my eyes from one scene to the next. MacGruber head-butts Lt. Piper. That's nice. MacGruber repeated tears out people's throats. That's nice. MacGruber threatens to do nasty things to his arch enemy's manhood. That's nice. I'm no expert in comedy writing, but I do know that, if I'm to laugh from beginning to end, I require more than a silly character doing silly things; there also needs to be a genuinely funny situation, and it should resolve itself in a way that doesn't appeal to the lowest common denominator. This movie doesn't even come close to achieving all that. Movies like this prove some stories need no more than sixty seconds to be adequately told.

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October 14, 2010
Great review, I loved this flick, stupid funny all the way man.
More MacGruber reviews
review by . October 14, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Cue MacGyver Music....and Celery Jokes...
I am at some disadvantage here. I am not exactly a huge fan of the Saturday Night Live comedy show; but I have to admit I did like some of their ideas such as “Wayne‘s World” to name one. Movies based off the SNL skits are usually a miss more than a hit. I guess it would be a little too hard to expand on a subject originally only meant for a few minutes of entertainment. I am however, a big MacGyver fan and of the 80‘s action movies so I figured that perhaps I will like the …
review by . May 21, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
MacGruber is the funniest SNL film since Wayne's World
Written by Will Forte, John Soloman and Jorma Taccone Directed by Jorma Taccone Starring Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Philippe and Val Kilmer    MacGruber: There's a big difference between winging it and seeing what happens.     On “Saturday Night Live”, MACGRUBER, a throwback to the 1980’s television series, “MacGyver”, is played up every now and then as a skit where a hapless dope (played happily by Will Forte) has to diffuse some bomb in …
review by . November 11, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
* out of ****      I'm not the biggest fan of SNL, but I enjoyed "Wayne's World". And I assume that there are various other sketch-based full-length SNL features that I will enjoy. But "MacGruber" is not one of them. This is possibly one of the worst movies of the year; a completely unfunny farce that thinks it has the power to be both cool and creative. I freely admit that it looked childish and unfunny from the trailer, and I should have heeded the …
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Chris Pandolfi ()
Ranked #5
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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About this movie


  • Only one American hero has earned the rank of Green Beret, Navy SEAL and Army Ranger. Just one operative has been awarded 16 purple hearts, 3 Congressional Medals of Honor and 7 presidential medals of bravery. And only one guy is man enough to still sport a mullet. In the 10 years since his fiancée was killed, special op MacGruber has sworn off a life of fighting crime with his bare hands. But when he learns that his country needs him to find a nuclear warhead that's been stolen by his sworn enemy, Dieter Von Cunth, MacGruber figures he's the only one tough enough for the job. Assembling an elite team of experts--Lt. Dixon Piper and Vicki St. Elmo--MacGruber will navigate an army of assassins to hunt down Cunth and bring him to justice. His methods may be unorthodox. His crime scenes may get messy. But if you want the world saved right, you call in MacGruber. -fandango.com

Poster art for "MacGruber."

  • No comic explosion, but not quite a dud, noWayne's World, but notThe Ladies Maneither,MacGruberdoes manage to pull off the seemingly impossible mission of expanding a 90-second one-jokeSaturday Night Livesketch into a feature film. What's next: "Toonces the Cat Who Could Drive a Car"? In thoseMacGrubersketches, Will Forte's mullet-maned hero "makes life-saving inventions out of household materials" but always gets sidetracked as the bomb he's defusing ticks down to its last 20 seconds. Blown up for the big screen,MacGruberfinds a bigger payoff ...
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Director: Jorma Taccone
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: May 21, 2010
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: September 7, 2010
Runtime: 95 minutes
Studio: Rogue Pictures
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