Sunday, May 23, 2010

MacGruber Review

Turning a five minute skit from Saturday Night Live into a feature length movie must be a hard task. Only Wayne's World has been made into a good film. It is even more difficult with the skit "MacGruber." It's a skit which is a takeoff of the MacGyver televisions series, the one where the hero eschews guns in favor of homemade solutions. On SNL, the skit is usually one in which MacGruber is faced with defusing a bomb. He gets distracted usually by the host of the week and everyone gets blown up. So, it's even more difficult to turn this skit into a movie unless you're making Bambi meets Godzilla type of film.

The movie opens up with Dieter Van Cunth, (get it?), played by Val Kilmer robbing the Russians of a nuclear weapon. There are dead bodies with realistic wounds strewn all about before Cunth cruelly executes a lone survivor. Okay, that's the first sign of trouble in a comedy. Hard to laugh when you see dead bodies, portrayed realistically.

Col. James Faith (Powers Boothe) and Lt. Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillipe) go to South America to recruit retired special forces expert MacGruber (Will Forte) to get the nuke back. He initially refuses but is haunted by the memory of his wedding in which Cunth blew up his bride, sending blood on associate Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig). Laughing yet? MacGruber accepts Faith's offer. After blowing up his own team of bad asses, MacGruber is forced to enlist Piper and St. Elmo to aid him.

If you're going to make a movie lampooning action films, then do it. Take for example, the movie Hot Shots, Part Deux. (1993) In that movie, the filmmakers fired a joke every few minutes. No such luck with MacGruber. Jokes are not funny. See MacGruber take out his car stereo from his car and walk around with it during the mission. Huh? MacGruber likes to rip out men's throats with his bare hands. You get to see the bodies after he does it. Boy, that's funny. What about MacGruber peeing on a burned corpse? Okay, that one in context, was kind of funny. You get this feeling that the filmmakers were thinking of making a somewhat serious movie, which would have been a first for SNL to turn a skit into a drama.

MacGruber needs more jokes for this type of lampoon. For your ten bucks, you get few laughs. You're better off watching the Daily Show. The grade is C.

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