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Review: MacGruber (2010)

MacGruber (2010)

Directed by: Jorma Taccone

Premise: An adaptation of the Saturday Night Live parody of the television show MacGyver. A superspy (Will Forte) is called back to active duty when a terrorist acquires a nuclear weapon.

What Works: When the gags in MacGruber work, they usually do work pretty well. The film keeps the audience in awe of the title character’s narcissism and stupidity and the filmmaker’s willingness to plumb crude and awful humor. The two standout performances of MacGruber are found in Kristen Wiig and Val Kilmer. Wiig plays MacGruber’s love interest and she delivers the kind of awkward but endearing performance that is characteristic of her work in other roles. She carries a lot of middle of the film and provides a human dimension that makes the film bearable. Val Kilmer plays MacGruber’s nemesis and he is spot on as a clichéd action film villain, often stealing the scenes he is in.

What Doesn’t: Although there are some very funny moments to MacGruber, it does not hit its comedic target consistently enough.  Like all Saturday Night Live adaptations, even the better ones like Coneheads, Wayne’s World, and The Blues Brothers, the concept wears thin very quickly and MacGruber overextends its gags to fill time. As a parody of action films, MacGruber struggles to find the right tone and some scenes, such as the opening, play less like a parody and more like an outtake of a serious direct-to-video action film.

Bottom Line: For better or worse, MacGruber is a film with no shame. It is very uneven with dramatic highs and lows. Comedy fans with less discriminating taste may enjoy it but the film is so crude and disjointed that it is hard to recommend it.

Episode: #291 (June 6, 2010)