Monday, May 24, 2010

MacGruber: Not For the Faint Hearted

MacGruber: Poster | A Constantly Racing MindMacGruber appeals to true SNL diehards.

I f you are not a fan of Will Forte's SNL MacGruber sketches, you will find it hard to have a thoroughly enjoyable experience with this film.  Starring Will Forte, as he reprises his MacGruber sketches from SNL, Kristen Wiig ("SNL"), Ryan Phillippe ("Crash"), and Val Kilmer as MacGruber's arch nemesis Dieter Von Cunth.  Staying true to the sketch's format in many ways, creator and director Jorma Taccone, takes the viewer on a Borat-esque version of the SNL sketch that may leave the general audience less than thrilled.

Hijacked from the Russians in Afghanistan, a scene of desolation, bodies everywhere, black SUVs rushing to the scene, dressed in black, out steps Dieter Von Cunth (Kilmer), "Open it up," he says, the doors to a missile launcher open.  The opening scenes from MacGruber set the stage for a 90 minute fast-paced action comedy spoof.  There is only one man for the job, MacGruber, says Col. James Faith (Powers Boothe) to Lt. Dixon Piper (Phillippe), as they walk into a dimly lit room.  In the shadows, kneeling towards the wall, meditating, is MacGruber, thought dead for 10 years; is now selected by the Colonel for this mission to save the world from certain destruction from Von Cunth's mad, fiendish scheme.  True to the SNL sketch format, Lt. Piper rattles off a long list of MacGruber's medals of Honor, service in all the armed forces, and a ridiculous amount of tours in Iraq.  If you have never seen the "Saturday Night Live" sketches, you can now consider yourself up-to-date on who the heck is MacGruber.  At the Pentagon, the Colonel instructs MacGruber to take Piper as his second in command.  At this point, MacGruber and Piper start an argument that reminds one of two brats on the playground, head-butting Piper, and breaking his nose, MacGruber leaves to assemble his team of War Heroes.  Dressed in typical 80's clothes and hair, listening to Toto's "Rosanna," MacGruber is off to enlist Vicki St. Elmo (Wiig) his long dead, fiancĂ©e’s best friend.  In a flashback scene, we get the history of MacGruber and Dieter Von Cunth's history as once friends, then rivals.  MacGruber stole Casey (Maya Rudolph), from Von Cunth, while she was carrying his child.  At Casey's and MacGruber's wedding, during the vows, Von Cunth' detonates a bomb blowing Casey to pieces, most of which, covers Vickie.  Vickie refuses to join MacGruber's team and would rather continue pursuing her music and singing career.

MacGruber's team, played some of  WWE's top wrestlers,  are at the airport, out on the tarmac, as Col. Faith is appealing to MacGruber to reconsider taking Piper on as his second in command.  MacGruber tells Faith and Piper that his heroes are sitting in the van, ready to go. The van is packed with C-4 that he personally made, and stored in the van with his team, and that nothing is going to stop him from going after Von Cunth.  Boom!  The van explodes, body parts thrown everywhere, the team, blown to pieces.  After the funerals, Faith pulls MacGruber off the mission, sending MacGruber into a crying fit as the Colonel leaves his office.  After some pleading and humiliating himself shamelessly, begging Piper and Faith to let him try again, MacGruber pulls his pants back on (don't ask) as Vickie shows up at the Pentagon and tells the Colonel, Piper and MacGruber, that she will join the team.  Piper relents and joins the team and they are off to save the world.

MacGruber: Will Forte - Kristin Wiig | A Constantly Racing Mind

Dropping the F-bomb fairly consistently and alluding to his character's homosexuality along the way, MacGruber includes scenes of Will Forte in several scenes in the nude dancing around with a celery sticking out where the sun don't shine, plenty of swearing, and the inevitable control room scenes that are a hallmark of the SNL, sketches.  Val Kilmer gives a strong performance as Von Cunth, as MacGruber's rival.  During the scenes where MacGruber is confronting Von Cunth, Kilmer is convincing, Forte is annoying.  The Von Cunth role, seemingly written in the same vein as Dr. Evil is to Austin Powers, only Forte is not as funny.  Ryan Phillippe as Lt. Dixon Piper should be mad at Forte, not for using him as a human shield during one of the action scenes, but for what this film will do his career.  Kristen Wiig seems more comfortable in her Vickie St. Elmo part than did Phillippe as Piper.  As an authority figure trying to keep the juveniles from hurting themselves, Powers Boothe, gives MacGruber some acting credibility as he plays his Col. James Faith character, reminiscent of Rambo's Col. Sam Troutman.

Many references from the sketches and to the "MacGyver" TV series will keep some laughing, however, only true fans of the sketches who get it, will appreciate what Forte and Taccone are trying to accomplish.  As an action comedy, Forte delivers action on a consistent basis; the comedic pace is juvenile at best and should rather be compared to Borat or Bruno.  With one of the longest tenures on SNL as a "Not Ready for Prime Time Players," MacGruber is a reason that Will Forte is not ready for the big screen.

Movie Data

Genre: Action, Comedy
Year:  2010
Staring:  Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Phillippe, Val Kilmer, Powers Boothe, Maya Rudolph
Director: Jorma Taccone
Producer(s): John Goldwyn, Lorne Michaels
Writer: Will Forte, John Solomon, Jorma Taccone
Rating: R
Running Time: 95 minutes
Release Date: 5/21/2010
Originally published on Associated Content by Robert Barbere on 5/24/2014

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