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Overall Rating

Awesome: 10%
Worth A Look: 26.67%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad46.67%
Total Crap: 16.67%

3 reviews, 12 user ratings

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by Rob Gonsalves

"Two minutes, MacGruber" is about all he's good for."
2 stars

What’s the point of spoofing a genre that pretty much spoofs itself?

My guess is that a lot of people in Hollywood grew up on the overwrought, macho action flicks of the ‘80s and have been yearning to recreate them. But that kind of film doesn’t really fly any more; these days the big budgets go to fantasy films or superhero films. If, say, Lethal Weapon were to be made today, it would have to be as an overt comedy, preferably one that can sell in the urban markets. The lily-white MacGruber, which is sinking without a trace at the box office, may be the proof.

MacGruber (Will Forte) started life as the clownish hero of brief Saturday Night Live sketches. Forte, John Solomon, and director Jorma Taccone have worked up a feature-length narrative for MacGruber, but they don’t seem to have solved the problem of why. An action farce like this, structured as a clothesline of skewered clichés, can work if it’s powered by deep disdain for the source or deep appreciation of it. MacGruber has neither. It seems to have been made because it could be made. Even Hot Fuzz, which underwhelmed me, was clearly a tribute to the junk it was satirizing. MacGruber is just a tribute to itself and the creative bankruptcy by which Universal forked over $10 million to make it.

None of this would be important if the film were funny. But MacGruber isn’t a character — he’s an assemblage of other characters’ backstories (rogue reputation, dead wife, called out of peaceful retirement for One Last Mission), albeit one with Michael Bay's mullet and a devotion to Blaupunkt. Will Forte plays MacGruber on a sketch level, and he can’t sustain it for even the short running time. Kristen Wiig, who reprises her role as MacGruber’s hot assistant, isn’t used here particularly well other than her body language in a coffee-shop sequence. The presence of Val Kilmer as the villain, Dieter von Cunth (oh, that's hilarious), promises more wildness than we get.

Why wasn’t MacGruber set in the ‘80s? That’s the decade it seems to worship, and there’s a portrait of Reagan on the office wall of MacGruber’s old colonel buddy (Powers Boothe), but there are also cell phones and other modern signifiers. The photography dukes it out between neon and black-on-orange; there’s a seriously ugly-looking scene set during the villain’s poker game, in what’s lighted to look like a pinkish grotto. Aesthetically, the movie is a crime; comedically it resorts to knee-slappers like celery up the butt (not once but twice). It’s further proof, as if any were needed, of SNL producer Lorne Michaels’ contempt for the audience.

And for gays. Near the beginning, MacGruber goes around assembling his dream team of tough guys he’s worked with in the past. He gets to one, a beefy mechanic (played by the wrestler The Big Show) who locks lips with another guy. MacGruber vehemently crosses the big sissy’s name off his list — easy homophobic joke. I hoped, though, that it might pay off later if MacGruber desperately needed a mechanic at some point and was chagrined when he remembered he dismissed a good one just for being gay — that’d be an easy point against homophobia. But he never ends up needing a mechanic, so it’s just a homophobic joke after all.

Pretty weird for a movie whose hero constantly offers to suck various people's dicks in order to get himself out of one mess or another. Overcompensating much, guys?

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originally posted: 05/24/10 06:45:50
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2010 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2010 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

12/18/13 n dizzy This review was better than the movie. 1 stars
2/06/12 doug he crossed him off the list because he was in a relationship, idiot... 5 stars
8/07/11 Grubes genius 5 stars
11/21/10 mr.mike Rented it free from the library! 4 stars
10/02/10 Dan Surprisingly good. Portraying MacGruber as a perverted sociopath was unexpected, but funny 4 stars
9/09/10 art watch it if you've got nothing else to DO! 1 stars
6/22/10 Pim Repetitive jokes, boring dialogue. Overall, terrible film! Not worth the time. 2 stars
6/01/10 Man Out 6 Bucks Utterly worthless banal schlock. Pity no negative rating. 1 stars
5/31/10 __ For thos ewho think the F word every 5 seconds is funny.SUCKED 1 stars
5/27/10 gc A film for idiots who think sex scenes and sticking things up your ass is funny 1 stars
5/26/10 Steve Miller Not the worst SNL movie, but close. 2 stars
5/25/10 Bob Dog Why 2 stars from RG? Doesn't match his poorly written review. 5 stars
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  21-May-2010 (R)
  DVD: 07-Sep-2010


  DVD: 07-Sep-2010

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