‘Saturday Night Live’ has been responsible for more of than its fair share of terrible sketch spin off movies (The Ladies Man… Superstar), so I’m happy to report that with ‘MacGruber’, they finally got it right.
Here is the basic premise of the story: MacGruber (played by Will Forte) is a Special Forces operative who has been out of action for ten years after the murder of his fiancee. Also, he sports a mullet. When his nemesis, terrorist Dieter van Cunth (played by Val Kilmer), gets his hands on a nuclear bomb, MacGruber must return from seclusion to defeat him. To do this he is aided by a crack team of operatives including Kristen Wiig as the love interest and Ryan Phillippe as the straight man.
‘Macgruber’ is lowbrow comedy at its best. It carefully juggles tasteless and vulgar jokes with a performance of childlike innocence that seems to keep it from becoming raunchy. The tone of the movie is that of a 1980’s action movie with even the main characters’ wardrobe seeming to come from that era. Also, the movie does great in that it does not limit itself to the original sketch in anyway. In fact, the events in the reoccurring sketch never actually happen in the movie. This works in the movie’s favor and helps give it a freedom to do whatever it wants.
The best thing about this movie is the acting of the leads, especially Will Forte and Kristen Wiig. Forte gives the character his full devotion and is willing to for anything necessary to get the laugh without seeming desperate. Wiig, who is always funny, does a great job as sidekick. A lot of people are put off by Wiig’s loud and nervous characters but in MacGruber she shows a much more subtle side that makes her character the perfect sidekick without overshadowing the star. Phillippe does a solid job in his role, which does not really have any comedic tone and Val Kilmer delivers a few chuckles. Overall, the film is consistently funny which cannot be said for most movies today where all the funny parts are in the commercials.
That said, this movie does have an “R” rating and it certainly does deserve it. If you are easily offended or have young children you may not want to see this movie. The movie does have strong language throughout and it also has a scene in which woman is a topless model for Dieter Von Cunth to paint. There are two “love scenes” that are somewhat crass (one of them hilariously realistic involving Kristen Wiig) but neither of them show any actually nudity except for Forte’s butt briefly in one of them. Also, Forte bares his bottom about 5 times in the movie. It is actually very funny, but just a warning to easily offended folks out there. As far as violence there is not a lot other than people getting shot and a couple of throat rips at the end.
Overall, the movie was hilarious. Definitely the best SNL comedy since ‘Wayne’s World’ back in 1992. I walked out with a feeling similar to the first time I ever saw Austin Powers. It was just a lot of fun to watch.
I would rate this movie 4.5 out of 5
Review By: jmcharries