[This is a re-post of our quick review of MacGruber from earlier this year at SXSW 2010]
MacGruber began as a small Saturday Night Live sketch back in 2007 and has today turned into a feature-length film thanks to director Jorma Taccone (writer on SNL). Suffice to say, if you don’t care for the skit, which parodies the popular MacGuyer character from the late ’80s, you won’t care for the movie. MacGruber solicits audible laughs through absurdity and shock, which is, of course, expected. It’s hard not to chuckle at Will Forte bunny-hopping around nude with a celery stalk up his ass, or Val Kilmer playing a villain named Dieter Von Cunth; and the various occasions to declare that it’s time “to pound some Cunth.” MacGruber is pure blockbuster silliness, executed in a decently (and unexpectedly) seasoned way.
While much of the film is forgettable, Will Forte makes a lasting impression as the lead. With hundreds of TV performances under his belt, Forte is quite effortless as MacGruber and rarely misses a stupid step. Kristen Wiig as Vicki St. Elmo delivers, too, with her familiar low-talking asides. The two, along with outlying do-gooder Lt. Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillippe), team up to take down Cunth, who killed MacGruber’s fiance previously and now threatens Washington, D.C. with a nuclear missile.
MacGruber will prove a fun start to the summer season. Being based on a SNL skit affords it a pretty low bar, especially since the last one was Ladies Man 10 years ago. Amusingly, for all the character’s clumsiness and peer failures, the film manages to clear that bar well enough.