Rating: R and Unrated
Directed by Jorma Taccone
“Only one operative has been awarded 16 purple hearts, and only one guy is man enough to still sport a mullet.
In the 10 years since his fiancée was killed, special op MacGruber has sworn off a life of fighting crime with his bare hands. But when he learns his country needs him to find a nuclear warhead that’s been stolen by his sworn enemy, Dieter VonCunth (Val Kilmer), MacGruber teams up with his trusty sidekick (SNL’s breakout star Kristen Wiig) and an uptight lieutenant (Ryan Phillippe) to get the job done. The trio sets out on a rampage of utter destruction.
“MacGruber” is rated R for strong crude and sexual content, violence, language and some nudity.
I had a number of problems with this film. First of all, I don’t think I laughed once as it played. MacGruber sticking celery up his butt and strutting around as a distraction didn’t make me laugh. MacGruber ripping out people’s throats really didn’t make me laugh either. MacGruber generally being incompetent or cocky was lost on me, and that was 80% of the movie’s jokes. I was really disappointed. The few potentially amusing scenes were all shown in the commercials and trailer, so they had no impact at all when they appeared in the movie.
My other problem is that MacGruber is not a likable character. He’s rude, cocky, and incompetent. At least Austin Powers was all that but still likable. He’s obviously a parody of MacGyver since he’s dressed like him, is named like him, and tries to create gadgets from random junk. But then unlike MacGyver he’s combative with other agents, he rips people’s throats out with his bare hands, and he’s frequently cowardly. I wasn’t sure who or what they were trying to parody because his character seemed to be all over the place. Are they parodying James Bond? 80’s action movies? 80’s TV shows? All of the above? It’s hard to tell.
The cast was also a pretty big disappointment. I’m obviously not a fan of Will Forte, but I thought Ryan Phillippe was pretty flat, too. Obviously he’s a straight man for MacGruber, but his character wasn’t given much to do. Kristen Wiig is arguably the most talented comedian among the cast, but she’s relegated to ‘straight man’, too. I was hoping to see her do more. The one bright spot among the cast is Val Kilmer. It’s nice to see him return to comedy and he makes a great villain.
On another positive note, I have to say I was impressed with director Jorma Taccone and director of photography Brandon Trost. They made “MacGruber” look like a big budget action movie. From some of the opening scenes, you might have a hard time distinguishing this from any other big action movie. They got a lot of bang for their buck.
Who should buy “MacGruber”? Obviously fans of the SNL skit. Fans of lowbrow action comedies will also get a kick out of it. But I think the more you lower your expectations, the more you’ll enjoy it.
The bonus features on the Blu-ray are quite light. It includes the unrated version of the movie which is 4 minutes longer than the theatrical version. Also included are a deleted scene, a gag reel, and a cast and crew commentary.