"MacGruber" Movie Review (2010)

5/21/2010 Posted by Admin

Movie Review


Directed by Jorma Taccone, Written by Taccone, Will Forte and John Soloman, 99 Minutes, Rated R

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

Movies based on "Saturday Night Live" sketches have not been much to brag about the last 15 years or so. The last really great one is probably "Wayne's World," and some would argue they haven't even matched "The Blues Brothers" from all the way back in 1980.

With that considered, "MacGruber," based on the sketch show's "MacGyver" parody of the same name, is actually quite a pleasant surprise. You wouldn't expect a sketch that doesn't last much longer than a minute about a bomb specialist who blows himself and his teammates to smithereens could be stretched to a feature-length film, but with a bit of solid writing and a healthy dose of '80s cliche, they manage to make it work.

Will Forte is MacGruber, a former special ops bomb expert who went into hiding when his wife was killed in an explosion perpetrated by his nemesis, Dieter von Cunth (Val Kilmer). Ten years have passed and Dieter has become a respectable member of society, though behind his pleasant demeanor and hefty donations to charity still lies a crafty criminal mastermind. MacGruber is called back the Pentagon when they learn Dieter has stolen a nuclear warhead and plans on attacking Washington D.C. MacGruber, along with his partners Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig) and Lt. Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillipe), sets out to stop Dieter and avenge his wife's death before it's too late. But it just so happens that MacGruber is an incompetent moron.

Forte completely owns this role. The original sketch is passably amusing at most--like most modern "SNL" sketches, it stretches its joke way too thin and if you've seen one you've seen them all, but off network TV and onto the big screen where you can do or say whatever you want, Forte has a ball with this ridiculous character and definitely makes a strong case for future leading roles. He's wild, foul-mouthed and completely hysterical. Even when the film gets a bit ridiculous and stupid, Forte is way too fun to watch to get concerned with anything else happening on-screen.

But let's not discount the supporting cast. Kilmer comes close to Forte's level, and he hasn't been this good in a long time. Thinking back to what seemed to be a comeback role in "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang," this is the kind of crazy role Kilmer was seemingly born to play. Here's hoping he does a lot more like it. Wiig and Phillipe both do what they do best--Wiig's subtle, soft-spoken, and hilarious, and Phillipe (playing it completely straight even when everyone else is going completely mad) rounds out the cast perfectly.

Really, "MacGruber" is so consistently laugh-out-loud funny and silly that at its worst, you hardly notice any of its flaws. It's a lot like the "Wayne's World" films in that way, and also like those films, it's a lot of fun if you're willing to turn your brain off for little while. It's pretty forgettable and not particularly mindblowing, but with so many laughs that's easy to forgive. At last, there's another "SNL" movie worth watching. Now if only "SNL" itself could follow suit.

Grade: B

View the trailer for "MacGruber" below.  What did you think of the movie?

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  1. Torrence of Arabia said...

    At the screening I attended, the majority of the audience was laugh-out-silent. For the first 20 minutes, in fact, you can't even be certain you are watching a comedy. This is a film that replaces wit with shock, and the shock wears thin.

    Woody Allen once noted a society gets the celebrities it deserves. Apparently, it also gets the film critics it deserves. Clearly, with his values exposed, Mr. Smith has all the makings of a Rand Paul speechwriter. He should consider the position. I'm sure there're openings after the last few days.

  2. Edward29 said...

    Just seen it this afternoon and it a blast.
    It has been a while since I seen a movie that made me frequently laugh out loud.
    Yeah there were jokes that fell flat to me, but others laughed and it was contagious.
    I think I've seen my comedy of the year so far.
    Good show.

  3. Admin said...

    Actually, Torrence of Arabia (how clever), if you could read, you'd note I didn't write this review. A guest blogger did.

    So! Good luck with your reading skills, and also honing your wit.