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MacGruber

by

Jeff Nelson

MacGruber lacks in both comedy and action, which is guaranteed to leave you wondering why you wasted your time watching it.

MacGruber
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Right from the beginning, being aware that MacGruber is based on a set of skits from Saturday Night Live, this film had the chance of being surprisingly funny or an absolute dud. Well, the filmmakers decided to make this more than a comedy. They decided to add a bunch of action elements as well. MacGruber aims as a parody of itself and other action comedies by taking many of the stereotypes we've seen in action comedies as well as putting a lot of slapstick humor into the mix. However, for something that's supposed to be a comedy, there aren't many laughs here and the action isn't developed very well. Given the fact that this is an R-rated motion picture, I'd expect adult humor, whether it be crude and immature or not, although there are times where some of the slapstick humor comes across as treating its audience as if they're children. Despite the fact that MacGruber looked horrible from the trailer, I thought that it wouldn't hurt to give it a watch anyways. It couldn't be that bad after all, right? Wrong.

MacGruber is an incompetent former special ops agent. When he's called back into action to deactivate archenemy Dieter Von Cunth, MacGruber is not he case. Now, he must thwart Von Cunth's plans to destroy Washington, D.C., with a nuclear warhead. As the plot is set up, audiences are already provided with a parody of MacGruber making his own version of the A-Team. However, this is one of the few funny moments of the movie. This montage is put together well, despite the homophobic gag. After this montage, the film suffers from trying way too hard to be funny. It fails at almost all of its attempts. Since this is trying to be an action comedy, it ultimately tries to be great at both, but does a poor job at both. There's a lot of "humor" that makes you wonder what made the filmmakers even think that it would be funny. I cannot imagine the majority of these jokes even coming across as funny on paper. There are a few humorous lines sprinkled throughout the movie, although there aren't many. It's astounding that the most irritating character of the entire film is the title character. The two characters that often saved me from simply turning off the movie while it was still playing were Vicki St. Elmo and Lt. Dixon Piper, who are MacGruber's two fellow agents fighting to save Washington. One of the only times I found myself actually laughing out loud is during the coffee shop scene with Vicki St. Elmo. There are times where stupid humor absolutely cracks me up, but MacGruber features a lot of material that's a large heap of garbage. The plot is paper thin and isn't enough to support an entire movie and have it work. I suppose its alright as a short sketch, but not an hour and a half-long feature. By the time the movie ended, I was shocked that I actually made it through the entire feature. I'm surprised that a movie studio funded this script from the beginning.

In all honesty, one of the biggest appeals that MacGruber has is its cast. Will Forte is MacGruber and is just fine as the incredibly annoying agent. However, I can't see even the best of actors doing much better with such a poorly written character. The presence of Kristen Wiig as Vicki St. Elmo and Ryan Phillippe as Lt. Dixon Piper is what truly carried this movie along. They display the small amount of humor to be found in MacGruber. Anybody who knows about Saturday Night Live or has watched hits such as Bridesmaids will know who she is. She brings a certain charm to the screen, which even shows through all of the chaos created by the screenplay. Phillippe delivers some comic relief that actually works since he's one of the few normal and sane acting characters in the movie. I wouldn't have minded just having a film starring Kristen Wiig and Ryan Phillippe as agents. That might actually be something worth watching.

As mentioned before, the action in MacGruber is underdeveloped. Yes, there are explosions, but nothing else that an action fan would crave. There's no tension during any of the fight sequences and there are times it tries to randomly be violent for no reason. The filmmakers appear to think that putting explosions and a man ripping throats out of people is considered strong action. I was hoping for more car chases and hand-to-hand combat. There isn't much of either. Fortunately, the audio is perfection. If you're trying to watch a movie that won't wake the neighbors, this isn't going to be something you'll want to play. This track is incredibly forceful and aggressive. The explosions and gun battles provide the movie with a large amount of oomph. The subwoofer is given an intense workout at times, as well. The surrounds are constantly being used. Expect perfection from the audio transfer for MacGruber.

Even those who are big fans of Saturday Night Live aren't going to be finding this to be worth watching. If you really want to see worthwhile material from these stars, watch their other movies and television shows. I guarantee you'll find the talent that has successfully gotten them famous. I seriously doubt that many moviegoers will have as much patience wit this as I did. I tried to hold on for Kristen Wiig and Ryan Phillippe, hoping that they would take on bigger roles in the movie. Don't get me wrong, there are a few laugh-out-loud moments of this film, but they're far too few. The action elements of the movie are disappointing and can't even succeed as a mindless popcorn flick. MacGruber lacks in both comedy and action, which is guaranteed to leave you wondering why you wasted your time watching it.

My Rating = One and One Half Stars

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