June 8, 2010

MacGruber

macgruber2_largeHere is a movie that I had absolutely zero expectations for. As a matter of fact, I had every intention of giving this a pass. To this moment I am still not quite sure why it is that I did go and see it. To make this a little more interesting, it took me two tries to actually see the thing! That's right, a movie I had no expectations for, had no serious intentions of seeing, I ended up seeing on my second attempt. It's insanity I tell you! Even better than that, I actually liked it. I know, I don't believe it either.



MacGruber is the latest in a long line of films spun off from Saturday Night Live, but only the first since The Ladies Man back in 2000. The run of films has been more bad than good over the years with the highlights being the first two, The Blues Brothers (1980) and Wayne's World (1992). In any case, they are back on the big screen with a movie based on one of the unlikeliest of of skits to get the feature treatment.

Will Forte is MacGruber, a MacGyver spoof character. The Saturday Night Live skit shows MacGruber trapped in a room with a pair of other cast members/guests and must use available household items to defuse a bomb, unsuccessfully of course. It is repeated ad nauseum through the episode. It thoroughly annoys me to no end and is hands down one of the worst skits I have had the displeasure of seeing.

Case in point:



Anyway, I went to the theater to catch a weekday matinee (no sense paying full price for a crap movie, right?). I approach the counter to get my ticket and was told the screening was canceled. What? Seriously? I know it is not doing all that well, but canceled? Turns out to be much more innocent than any performance issues, the theater was switching to digital and the switch did not go smoothly. I went back two days later and did get to see it. Still wondering why as I walked into the theater and took my usual seat. And yes, I know you don't care about any of this. Get to the movie already!

The movie presents MacGruber (Will Forte) as an elite agent who left the game many years earlier after faking his own death. He is approached by his old commanding officer, Col. Faith (Powers Booth), about coming back to active duty. You see, his old nemesis Dieter von Cunth (Val Kilmer) is up to his evil and nefarious ways and only MacGruber can stop him.



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Will he do it? Won't he? Of course, otherwise why bother with the movie? Wait, did I just ask "why bother" regarding a film whose very concept is questionable? Yes, yes I did.

Our hero goes about putting together a team of WWE wrestlers to aid him in his quest. However, when that doesn't work out we settle on the smaller team of Kristen Wiig and Ryan Phillipe. The trio run roughshod through town on their way to their target. Granted the roughshod quality is brought by MacGruber himself as he does not know the meaning of the word subtlety.

Does the plot really matter? You have MacGruber on one side von Cunth on the other, point the good guy towards the bad guy and let them go. There is not much in the way of plot as it surges forward as a series of sketches.



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The funny thing about this movie is that it is actually funny. It is over the top, vulgar, crass, goofy, and insanely stupid. There really are no redeeming values contained within its frames. The truth of the matter is, as stupid as it is, it works. Everyone plays it straight, no one gives up the fact they are in a goofball action/comedy.

I am not sure what else to say about this. Some of the scenes are hilarious, these include the celery bit, the disarming the bomb bit, von Cunth talking to the bomb, the sex scenes, piking up his first gun, among others. I am flabbergasted at how humorous I thought this was. No, it is not a great film and it will never be remembered as such. It is the sort of movie that seems destined to grow a cult following. It is funny, stupid funny, and it works. By golly it works.

Yes, I like this movie and I will probably watch it again on home video. Every once in awhile we need one of these stupid movies. It can go on my shelf next to Night at the Roxbury.

Recommended.


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