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 character “MacGruber“ who is based on the SNL sketches. This time around, director/co-writer Jorma Taccone makes the title character the lead in a comedic parody of 80‘s action movies. “MacGruber” is all about exaggeration to generate its fun moments.
After 10 years of hiding out at a monastery, MacGruber (Will Forte) is called back into action by his mentor (Powers Boothe) to take down his old nemesis (who is also the killer of MacGruber’s wife) Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer). Cunth had stolen a nuclear warhead and aims it to create chaos in the U.S.. It is up to MacGruber to plan a counter strike against Cunth’s band of mercenaries; joined by his former partner Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Kriig) and a young soldier Lt. Dixon Piper (Ryan Philippe), armed only with his stock of Q-tips, threads, celery and other unorthodox tools to save the world…
This film is a lot harder to review than I figured it would be. If I try to describe the gags then it wouldn’t sound funny at all. If I analyze the plot then it wouldn’t work since it was meant to be a comedic spoof whose aim is to be stupid. I don’t want to spoil its punch lines and its dialogue is just so exaggeratedly goofy and cheesy that to discuss it wouldn’t be fair. So well, I am at a loss as to how I am going to review “MacGruber”. It seems like the “bad” in the film is otherwise its asset, so how can one review a movie meant to expose the worst in moviemaking to bring out the good? I have no idea.
One would see that the film is meant to be a parody of “MacGyver” and a homage to the 80’s action films and TV series, so perhaps this would be the best way to approach this movie. MacGruber is an action hero who doesn’t use a gun, likes to play with celery and rip bad guys’ throats out; he is also obsessed with negotiating with sexual favors to get his way. Well, I see revenge movie tributes, “Rambo”, “Road House”, “The A-Team” and God knows what else. There is something about his shirt and vest, but I am at a complete lost. Yes, the film takes those devices to the limits of exaggeration and plays with the concept as much as it can; but for some reason, I was a little bored.
I am not sure, I know parodies aren’t supposed to have a plot that is cohesive, solid or even coherent but I just couldn’t be engaged with this film. There are several things that make it interesting such as his being “out of his time” (uses a cassette tape, music and his appearance is just so 80’s) but I suppose the direction didn’t take full advantage of this plot device as it didn‘t keep its focus on its “MacGyver“ overtone. There is also the appearance of several wrestling stars (Kane, The Big Show, Chris Jericho among others) but I felt that they were underused, with a lot of its potential quickly abandoned when they could’ve been the film’s main aces. I am not sure, perhaps I’ve just seen so many spoofs and parodies, but I thought that “MacGruber” wasn’t that funny. I felt a sensation of familiarity with the crude silly humor, cheesy dialogue and exaggerated devices that I wasn’t exactly entertained with its comedic timing; I thought it was just the same old familiar territory about a silly man in crazy situation to generate laughs.
At the very least, Forte and his supporting cast do have some talent in the acting department. As much as I wasn’t engaged with the film, I could recognize the talent brought out by Forte, Kriig, Kilmer and maybe even Philippe himself. The cast does rise above the limits of its script and direction; they managed to connect even though the film’s main concept seems boring. Kilmer and Philippe get major credit for playing their parts quite well. Forte is pretty good for what he does, he is funny even though the set up was unfunny; this by itself is a commendation to his comedic talents.
I guess if you’re a fan of the SNL sketches then you will most likely dig “MacGruber”. The film is indeed a spoof of all the 80’s action movies and if you haven’t gotten your fill of these spoofs, then you’ll like this film. I am not sure, this unrated cut is supposed to be 4 minutes longer, so maybe the added footages actually hurt the film’s pace? (didn’t see the film in theaters to make an observation). I really can’t say much about “MacGruber”, I guess you should know what you are in for with the film, which isn’t exactly that much.
RENTAL [2 ½ Out of 5 Stars] This Review is a Movie Hype Community Exclusive @lunch.com
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 … more
* 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 … more
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. … more
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
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 ...