Monday, June 21, 2010


"Classic MacGruber!" 

While MacGruber occasionally hits on a good joke, for the most part it's crude, unimaginative and just down right stupid. I wasn't entirely surprised at this outcome, honestly I only saw the movie out of a morbid sense of curiosity. Now I wouldn't go so far as to say MacGruber is the worst movie I've ever seen in my life, but it's by no means good.

The plot, such as it is, revolves around the arch villain Cunth (Val Kilmer) who has stolen some kind of doomsday weapon and plans to use it on Washington D.C. Thus, the US military turns to the only man who can save them, MacGruber (Will Forte). There's also some back-story between Cunth and MacGruber about how Cunth killed MacGrubers wife, I'm not really sure why this subplot was in here as it really adds nothing to the movie. Vicki St Elmo (Kristen Wiig) and Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillipe) are MacGrubers reluctant sidekicks on the mission to take down Cunth (and yes every time a character says that name the 'h' isn't pronounced all that clearly). 

The gimmick of the SNL skit was that MacGruber's inventions and schemes never work, and inevitably everyone dies. This wouldn't make for a particularly lengthy movie though, so instead none of his inventions or schemes work, but somehow everyone lives anyway. I was never really a fan of the skit, I thought it was pretty shallow and the joke gets worse as time goes on. Will Forte really seems like he's trying too hard to hit the punchlines, every joke he makes on screen seems strained, which doesn't work so well in a movie that relies almost exclusively on said jokes. Val Kilmer (who really isn't looking too well these days, boy that guy put on some weight) is camping it up as the arch villain Cunth, delivering every line like a cliched, poor mans Bond villain. Cunth is a character so one dimensional that he could really have been portrayed by a cardboard cut out and the movie wouldn't have suffered from it. Then we have Kristen Wiig (resuming her character from the original skit) and Ryan Phillipe as the straight man to play off of the insanity that is MacGruber. Wiig looks lost for most the movie, I suspect she was wondering what horrible act she'd committed in a previous life to deserve being cast in the movie. Phillipe, to my surprise, actually tries to be professional, as if he's completely unaware of what a train wreck he's part of.

I know what folks say about analyzing slapstick movies like this one... that we should just leave our brains at home and enjoy the movie for what it is. Well yes, I agree with those folks, in fact I'm usually one of the people saying that - however that argument only goes so far. There is a delicate balance between farcical comedy and entertaining story telling, and I can assure you that MacGruber is completely unsuccessful in pulling it off. Instead it seems to be comprised of several SNL skits just mashed together to produce a feature length movie. To make matters worse only the smallest fraction of those skits are actually funny. It was somewhat embarrassing to sit in a theater watching a so called 'comedy' and nobody was laughing at the jokes. Or at least when there was an amused chuckle, it was more along the lines of the sound one makes when laughing at the boss's jokes (just to be clear, the term I'm shooting for here is 'insincere').

If you've seen the trailer for the movie, then you've seen the best gags already, don't punish yourself by submitting to 90 minutes of torture.

Oh, but wait... didn't I say this wasn't the worst movie I've ever seen? My analysis has been pretty harsh though hasn't it? So if this isn''t the worst movie I've ever seen what is? Well I can't honestly narrow it down to a single movie (though Edge of Darkness is very tempting) so instead just let me say I've seen my share of Uwe Bole movies and leave it at that.

Final verdict on MacGruber:

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