As the only two people who saw the new Saturday Night Live sketch turned feature-length movie Macgruber over the weekend, contributors Andrew Majors and Daniel Gauer both felt compelled to share their contrasting views on the Will Forte spoof in the latest entry in our mostly unused and arguably unneeded Double Shot Feature
Review by Andrew Majors:
Judging by the weekend’s measly Box Office estimates, I was one of very few people to head to the theater and check out the debuting film Macgruber.
A lot of people made a big mistake.
Macgruber is one of the most belly laugh packed films to hit the theaters in a very, very long time. It’s much more than an SNL film, or a spoof film, or many of the other preconceived tags the film has garnered. It’s a well-put together, blisteringly funny film that takes advantage of every lavish Hollywood cliche at its disposal and then implements it in the funniest way possible.
The film is carried by it’s star and co-writer Will Forte. I’m a huge fan of his, and I think he’s one of the strongest members on a poorly used Saturday Night Live cast (one I intend on saving within one calendar year). Here, he takes a character that could’ve been nothing more than a MacGuyver parody, but gives him a completely hysterical, unique tone that manages to poke fun not only at one specific character, but an entire genre of films. Forte sells not only every line, of which there are plenty that will elicit huge laughs, but with every mannerism, inflection, and movement. He never goes to the same well too often. Even recurring gags garner laughs late into the film because the entire film itself isn’t reliant on these gags.
The story of the film is pretty simple, and resembles most of the 80s action movies that the film itself is parodying. Villain steals nuclear weapon, hero must assemble team and save the world. Even the premise itself contributes to big laughs. Macgruber is a highly decorated military veteran, yet he doesn’t know how to use a gun, can’t formulate a plan, and blows any advantage he gets with his blatant stupidity. But again, Forte sells it all perfectly.
Macgruber believes in what Macgruber is doing, and that’s all the movie needs to be successful. When you add in there that the film progresses quickly, never toils around with too much in terms of lateral movement, what you end up with is a film that instead of being only a parody of the action genre somehow becomes a very good action movie itself. Much like its leading character, the movie sort of falls ass backwards into success.
The supporting cast does a good job. Val Kilmer plays a good villain, Kristen Wiig (tremendously underutilized SNL talent) gets to spread her wings, and even Ryan Philippe gets some laughs. Great cameos for some WWE superstars, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that everyone bought their A-game.
It’s honestly the funniest film I have seen since last year’s mega hit The Hangover, but those movie’s aren’t similar. Think Wayne’s World meets The Naked Gun, with a hard R rating.
I would encourage you to see this movie within two weeks, because it’s not going to last long in theaters. Which is a shame. It’s packed with laughs from start to finish, and deserves a better fate than a quick death and to be lost in the summer shuffle. Will Forte proves that he is a great comedic actor capable of bringing the funny with him at all times, and even as an action film proves to be competent and incredibly entertaining. Macgruber is a hilarious movie parading in the skin of a Box Office bomb, and it truly deserves a better fate.
Final Score: 8.5/10 (Seriously. It’s Really Good)
Review by Daniel Gauer:
I went into see MacGruber hoping for something. What I don’t know. Maybe I was hoping for a good movie based on a Saturday Night Live character instead of barely watchable films like Coneheads and The Ladies Man, or just maybe I was hoping that people would finally see Will Forte as a genuinely funny guy who could hold a full length movie. I wish that was the case, but it was only half right.
MacGruber is a funny movie and the people in the movie were funny, but for some reason it just doesn’t fully work. Will Forte plays MacGuber , a former government agent that eventually comes out of retirement to avenge the death of his wife and save the country from a mad man with a missile named Dieter von Cunth, played inexplicably by Val Kilmer. The story hits all the beats of a cheesy action movie from the eighties very well, following all of the formulaic steps from the hero being reluctant to him getting in too deep to him figuring things out and saving the day. All of this was done fine and in a funny way, but the whole time I watched I just felt bored. I didn’t really get invested in the story and I felt like I had seen it all before.
Some of the positives of the film were the action scenes, which were done surprisingly well with well shot gun fights and explosions. Also, they didn’t make the film about the sketch that it was based upon. It takes the already established characters and expands on them which was nice because the sketch is really just the same joke told in a different way each week on the show. There are also some funny bits like MacGruber carrying his car stereo with him and a bit were he tracks down a guy who made fun of his car by memorizing the license plate number.
My main problem with the movie was the character of MacGruber. Throughout a lot of it he is just very unlikeable. He is somewhat humorous, but really comes off as too manic and absurd to hold a feature length film. A movie should just not have been made around this character. A thirty second sketch each week on a comedy show really can’t sustain a whole film.
I really wanted to like MacGruber, but that was just not the case. Although it does have some genuinely funny laugh out loud moments it just isn’t a great film. It isn’t as bad as a lot of the older SNL movies, but it really doesn’t work.
Final Score: 5/10