MacGruber (2010) - Can't Stop the Movies
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MacGruber (2010)

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Andrew DISLIKESome of my acquaintances assure me that Will Forte is a funny man.  Based on my experiences with the man's sense of humor after watching MacGruber, I also have to add that he is seriously disturbed.  He plays MacGruber as a self hating closeted bisexual with a thirst for blood and a penchant for sticking celery into certain parts of his anatomy.  Not others, his own.  Hardy har har.

Maybe I'm being unfair to Will Forte, as this is my first real exposure to the man, but this is a stomach-churningly terrible movie with as much violence as Repo Men.  Since Forte also co-wrote it, I have to safely assume that further exposure to his brand of comedy will not bring me that much joy.

MacGruber is based on a series of Saturday Night Live sketches brought to life by Will Forte.  They're a parody of the old MacGyver show where the title hero would find creative uses of everyday items to defeat terrorists and criminals (example, diffusing a nuclear bomb with some toothpaste and tape).  In MacGruber, the villainous Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer, who somehow avoids looking embarrassed) is threatening the world with a nuclear explosive.  So it's up to Col. James Faith (Powers Boothe) to get MacGruber to recant his pledge of non-violence and get back into the game.

They've both got spectacular hair.

MacGyver always had a lot of fun with it's silly premise making this movie kind of pointless to begin with.  But MacGruber discards any possible creativity and fun that could be had with the source material and goes straight for the jugular.  This is the literal case in the film, where MacGruber tears out the throats of a number of bad guys.  This is intended as intrinsically funny, despite the gushing blood and pulsating lump of flesh in his hand.

The violent trend continues into the movie when MacGruber blows up his own team (after an insulting bit of homophobia plays out onscreen) and recruits Lt. Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillippe) and Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig).  Their roles, respectively, are to treat MacGruber as incredulously and as terrified of him as they would be in real life.  Since he's going around blowing up his friends, sticking vegetation into his bum, and maintaining a perfect mullet with zero irony, those are pretty reasonable reactions.  Stranger still the cast seems to think that it's a serious action flick, as none of them are tuned into the same level of nihilistic absurdity that Forte is.

Director Jorma Taccone visualizes the many bloody moments with a disturbing level of reality.  Unless there's a damn good reason for the violence, it's not very funny when we watch someone get shot in the head for displeasing the boss.  Or when the characters are covered with pieces of human flesh from the one of many bombs that go off.  Or during the previously mentioned throat ripping.  This is some tone killing material in what's supposed to pass as a comedy.

They both look as thrilled speaking the dialogue as I do hearing it.

When MacGruber isn't violent it revels in the most unfunny dialogue this year.  It reaches the height of it's cleverness with Kilmer's Von Cunth ("Pound some Cunth", "Filthy Cunth") but ends up sounding like an insecure improv session between disgruntled comedians.  There's a lot of action movie dialogue cliches that are intended as funny too, but they're played way too straight by the characters to do much good.

I admit, MacGruber did make me smile with the title characters mullet and sense of style.  There are also a few light chuckles from the use of the soundtrack (MacGruber really loves mid-80's power ballads).  But the overall affect of MacGruber was one that disturbed instead of entertained me.

Saturday Night Live hasn't exactly been kind to it's stars when they try to jump into the "big time" and drag their characters onto a larger screen.  MacGruber does Forte no favors, and just goes to show that the best SNL film in years is equal to the worst video game flick in as many (and somewhere, Ewe Boll smiles).

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MacGruber (2010)

Directed by Jorma Taccone.
Written by Will Forte, Jorma Taccone and John Solomon.
Starring Will Forte, Ryan Phillippe, Kristen Wiig, Val Kilmer and Powers Boothe.

Posted by Andrew

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  1. You should really look past your nose and appreciate this movie as the success it was. And here’s why – besides the fact that it was directed and filmed so well and seamlessly u probably didn’t even notice the detail to lighting in every scene as well done as roman Polanski. Appreciate stupid humor and I bet u don’t like nacho libre

    So MacGruber is to Polanski as Nacho Libre is to Antonioni? My upturned nose is missing subtext I’ve never dreamed of.

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