Sunday, May 30, 2010
MACGRUBER / ***
Release Date: May 21, 2010
Running Time: 88 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
The history of Saturday Night Live skits turned into movies is sketchy, to say the least. This is the eleventh film to originate from the long-running TV show, and really only three of them have been good – “The Blues Brothers” (1980), “Wayne’s World” (1992), and “Wayne’s World 2” (1993). Incidentally these are also the first three films. Since then it’s been a string of clunker after clunker: “Coneheads” (1993), “It’s Pat” (1994), “Stuart Saves His Family” (1995), “A Night at the Roxbury” (1998), “Blues Brothers 2000” (1998), “Superstar” (1999), and “The Ladies Man” (2000). Ouch.
I admit that I haven’t regularly watched Saturday Night Live, or really watched it at all, for about a decade. The last time I remember actually sitting down to watch an episode was the first time The Rock hosted. So I was not at all familiar with the “MacGruber” sketches, but the trailer, along with the presence of a half dozen WWE superstars was enough to get me interested.
“MacGruber” is a spoof film that knows what a spoof film is. Unlike recent spoofs like the “[Blank] Movie” series that just badly reshoots scenes from popular films with no rhyme or reason, “MacGruber” takes on an entire genre – the ‘80s action film.
Will Forte stars as the title character, an American hero and supposed bomb diffusing expert. He has been supposed dead for the last 10 years by everyone, including his arch nemesis Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer). MacGruber failed to get revenge on Von Cunth for murdering his wife Casey (Maya Rudolph) on their wedding day.
He gets an opportunity from Col. James Faith (Powers Boothe) and Lt. Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillippe). They tell him that a nuclear warhead has been hijacked, and Von Cunth is believed to be behind it. MacGruber is convinced to come out of retirement and put together a team (WWE Superstars Big Show, MVP, The Great Khali, Kane, Chris Jericho, and Mark Henry). Unfortunately he accidentally blows that team up, so it’s just him, Piper, and the lovely Vickie St. Elmo (Kristin Wiig).
Parts of “MacGruber” are very funny, while some other parts miss the mark. But what makes the film at least moderately successful is that the writers not only know the genre they’re spoofing, but they also love it. I’m sure the casting of Val Kilmer (who starred in the 1984 classic spoof films as “Top Secret!”) was no accident.
Forte is hit-and-miss as the character might not be quite funny enough to sustain a whole movie. Thankfully Wiig is her usual hilarious self, and Phillippe makes a great straight man. While it is no means a classic, “MacGruber” delivers enough laughs to be a pleasant little surprise.
Theater: RDM Westroads 14, Omaha, NE
Time: 1110 pm
Date: May 29, 2010