Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Directed by: Jorma Taccone
Starring: Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Phillipe, Val Kilmer
Saturday Night Live may be responsible for some of the greatest comedy of our generation but for every Wayne’s World there’s a Night at the Roxbury and for every Blues Brothers there’s a Coneheads. Unfortunately, MacGruber is strictly in the latter category. Based on the popular Will Forte MacGruber sketches, which parody 80’s classic action TV show McGuyver, this is one stinker of a movie that truly fails to stretch out the sketch to feature length.
A bad start is stealing your opening sequence from Hot Shots: Part Deux and Ace Ventura 2: When Nature Calls. This says it all about the film. It is infuriatingly contrived and the jokes fall flat as pancakes. The plot sees revered renegade hero MacGruber called out of retirement after a nuclear warhead is stolen by the evil Dieter Von Cunth (Kilmer). There’s a silly back-story about Von Cunth killing MacGruber’s bride and some crap about seeking revenge on a driver who disrespected him. This is a very stupid film.
Having said that, there are some funny moments mostly due to the tremendous Kristen Wiig. Val Kilmer doesn’t quite work as the evil Von Cunth and for the record, the Cunth joke was funny the first time but it got old very quickly. However, there are some good moments of banter between the two and Kilmer does look like he’s having great fun. Unfortunately, despite a few laughs, the character of MacGruber is not very likeable and unlike a character like Austin Powers, he isn’t very clever. This makes it very hard to care about anything that happens in the course of the film.
A huge part of the problem is the casting. Will Forte is just not a leading man. He is smug and arrogant and lacks the charisma to make that charming. When movie stars show up as guests on SNL we all laugh at the outrageous performances they give and go along with their mannered comic timing for the good of it all. Here Kilmer and Phillipe feel just like that. They feel like awkward guest stars out of their depth. Kilmer has done comedy before, and done it well. Here, however, he just doesn’t pull it off. Ryan Phillipe is just a victim of poor casting. He plays the straight man to Forte’s lunatic but he is not able to rise above the fact that he just doesn’t have the chops for comedy. The female cast do much better as Kristen Wiig proves yet again that she is a force to be reckoned with and the lovely Maya Rudolph is suitably campy as MacGruber’s wife’s ghost.
You might find a few things to laugh at here and there in this action comedy but overall this film is a big waste of time. MacGruber is boring, unoriginal and suffers from an inexplicable awkwardness throughout. Not worth the price of admission.
- Charlene Lydon