SXSW Review: MacGruber


Director:Jorma Taccone

Cast:Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Phillippe, Val Kilmer

Running Time:99.00


MacGruber. Seeing as how I am not a fan of the "˜Saturday Night Live' skit by the same name, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I knew that many previous SNL skit spinoffs had been failures, so I didn't necessarily walk into this movie with high hopes. The entire sketch consists of MacGruber trying to defuse a bomb with ordinary objects (a-la MacGyver), but somehow he always seems to get distracted. As a result the bomb always goes off, killing everyone involved. There are plenty of deaths in this movie, but somehow our clumsy hero escapes his own incompetence on more then one occasion, a complete 180-degree turn from his SNL counterpart.

After the death of his soon to be wife, MacGruber swears off fighting crime with his bare hands and heads to a monastery in Ecuador. Refusing to even hear of any need for his expertise, he lives an entirely new life away from the war that once consumed his day and night. But he goes against his self-promise, exiting his new life of seclusion, after hearing that his wife's murderer Von Cunth has gained possession of a nuclear warhead and is planning to blow up Washington D.C. MacGruber assembles a top-notch team of U.S. heroes to defeat Von Cunth, but a tragic accident forces him to settle for Vicki St. Elmo and Lt. Dixon Piper. Now, this unlikely trio is all that stands between Van Cunth and America's deterioration.

MacGruber pairs SNL regulars Will Forte and Kristen Wigg with "˜regular' actors Ryan Phillipe and Val Kilmer. Although you wouldn't know it based on the clothing styles of Forte and Wigg, this movie is not set in the 80's. MacGruber was co-written and directed by Jorma Taccone and shot with a budget of $10 million in just over a month. For this reason alone the set pieces and special effects were next to nothing compared to other films of its kind.

While the SNL skit focuses on MacGruber repeatedly attempting to defuse a bomb, the movie contains an actual storyline with both a problem and a resolve. We still get one instance of bomb defusing, but it isn't the main focus of the film. Instead we get additional information about the life and times of America's most unlikely hero; like why he chooses to fight crime with his bare hands rather than with weapons.

The television ads claim: MacGruber is the funniest "˜Saturday Night Live' film since Wayne's World. Now let's be honest, is that really saying much? F-bombs, nudity, and sex are a steady presence here, and this film easily earns its hard R- rating. I'm still not sure if I actually liked the film or was laughing in simple contrast to my low expectations. Either way, it had me laughing out loud for the first hour and shaking my head during the last thirty minutes (mostly thanks to some re-used puns). Guys will love it and girls will tolerate it, for no other reason than it isn't your typical shoot "˜em up action adventure. I wouldn't say that this is characterized as a must-see, but would be a decent choice for some sort of DVD movie night with friends.


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