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>> Friday, June 11, 2010

I’ll never look at vegetable-anal relations the same way ever again.

Growing up I watched a lot of movies I didn’t realize were based on SNL sketches (screw you - IMDB didn’t exist yet) that guided me through my childhood and into my late teens. A lot of them were some of my favourites for a while. These included The Blues Brothers (the first SNL movie made), Wayne’s World and Wayne’s World 2, It’s Pat and A Night at the Roxbury. They all performed decently well enough that with the exception of 1991, 1996 and 1997 there was an SNL movie every year (sometimes twice a year) in the 90’s. The last SNL movie The Ladies Man (2000) sucked bad enough that another movie based on a sketch would not return for another 10 years. That brings me to the film I’m reviewing today – MacGruber.

Will Forte plays MacGruber, a MacGyver wannabe with a “knack” for taking everything from a paperclip to a celery stick and using it as a weapon of mass non-destruction. His partners in crime are the very funny Kristin Wiig as Vicki St. Elmo and Ryan Phillippe as Lt. Dixon Piper. They are put on the task of finding the film’s bad guy, Dieter Von Cunth played by a heavy set, double-chinned Val Kilmer. Poor Val, ever since Batman Forever he just hasn’t tried. It doesn’t stop him from being entertaining though, bless his heart.

So what, as a viewer do you get from MacGruber? Well, nothing you won’t expect. It’s an hour long, F-bomb filled excuse for making a 2 minute SNL sketch a little more riské. It’s by no means a filthy movie – but it’s definitely not as kid friendly as previous movies based on sketches. That doesn’t make it a bad movie, it in fact probably helps it a whole lot, actually. The only thing I did expect was a cameo by the original MacGyver, Richard Dean Anderson. He unfortunately was nowhere to be found and could have brought in some charming comedy (as easy a target as that would have been).

The film parodies itself and other 80’s movie clichés with a series of montages, and typical action sequences. MacGruber’s biggest strength is definitely that it doesn’t take itself too seriously and has a lot of LOL moments where the ridiculousness of a situation is either going to make you howl or roll your eyes with discontent. I mentioned celery earlier – you’ll see why I remembered it so vividly. Some of the funniest stuff comes from MacGruber’s one liners and over-clarification of certain phrases and the notion that he himself is an action hero from the movies. That mixed with some of MacGruber’s obsessions for saving money and his whacky behaviours makes this a fun film to watch.

It’s directed by Jorma Taccone who played Andy Samberg’s brother in the similarly written and comedically timed Hot Rod. I’m actually going to say if you liked Hot Rod you won’t have a hard time enjoying MacGruber – which I’m giving an open door. It’s not ground breaking stuff but it made me laugh a lot – which is sometimes the only thing that matters.

*Stills courtesy of Paramount Pictures


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