Friday, February 25, 2011

MacGruber (2010)

MacGruber (2010)
Directed by: Jorma Taccone
Starring: Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Phillippe, Val Kilmer

Every single review I’ve read about MacGruber said that it was a terrible movie.  I’ve met people that said they hated it, and apart from the few examples of some friends, I’ve never met anyone else who enjoyed the movie.  I don’t know if people refused to see the movie because of the reviewers stigma, or if they just didn’t care to see it.  Honestly I was pretty surprised when I heard that they were making a movie out of this particular SNL skit.  MacGruber as a skit was pretty funny the first time I saw it, and they varied it in some humorous ways.  The formula of the skit was a MacGyver knockoff in which MacGruber is always trying to disarm a bomb in a control room.  The skit varies in who is with him and where the control room is located.  The people with him were always either Kristen Wiig or Maya Rudolph and the person hosting SNL.  Examples of hosts that played a part in a MacGruber skit were Shia LeBeouf (plays MacGrubers homosexual son), Jeremy Piven (plays MacGrubers doubtful Assistant), and Betty White (plays his Grandmother).  Here and the links to Hulu where you can watch the full length skits:

There were also other skits besides these three, which you can also watch online.  They even had the real MacGyver play his father, which was probably my favorite skit of all.  You’ll notice that most of them are basically the same type of skit only varied to a certain extent.  So when I heard that they were making a movie out of these skits, I was pretty skeptical of how the movie would turn out (which is how, I believe, all mainstream reviewers were as well).  Before we continue on to the movie, we should speak about the current Saturday Night Live cast.  Will Forte is no longer on the cast, however, when he was, I actually really enjoyed the cast.  I stopped watching SNL for a long period.  I had followed it all the way to when Will Ferrell was on the cast.  Then I stopped watching the series because it really lost its touch.  Then came the new cast with Andy Samberg, Fred Armisen, Tina Fey, Jason Sudeikis, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Bobby Moynihan, Kenan Thompson, and of course Will Forte.  I’ve left out other great additions to the cast, but these actors really brought SNL back from the dead.  Will Forte skits were pretty original and he really brings a special type of comedy to his acting which we can see in MacGruber.

The movie opens to a desert scene in which a convoy carrying a special type of nuclear weapon is attacked and the bomb is taken by the antagonist of the movie.  The antagonist is named Dieter Von Cunth and is played by Val Kilmer, who plays his part rather well.  This scene sets up the premise of the plot, and shows a typecast bad guy for the film.  The next few scenes involve the resurrection of MacGruber.  MacGruber went into hiding because Dieter von Cunth had killed his wife.  The name of the villain in this movie is a joke in itself.  Pretty self explanatory, but the use of the German name combined with a word that is a homonym for a profanity makes the name rather humorous.  The first time we meet MacGruber, his former colonel and Lt. Dixen Piper (played by Ryan Phillippe ) come to ask for his help.  When Piper describes MacGruber, we get the first sense that this movie is mocking MacGyver and all other Ex-military super soldiers.   Here is Piper’s description of MacGruber:

“The Legendary MacGruber. Former Navy SEAL, Army Ranger and Green Beret. Served six tours in Desert Storm, four in Bosnia, three each in Angola, Somalia, Mozambique, Nicaragua and Sierra Leone. Recipient of sixteen Purple Hearts, three Congressional Medals of Honor, seven Presidential Medals of Bravery and starting tight end for the University of Texas, El
Pretty ridiculous, but it adds to the comedy of the movie.  If you add up all the tours he went on in that statement, it adds up to a total of 25 tours.  The average tour length in the military is 6 months to a year, so he was probably in the military for 12.5 to 25 years.  For those of you that haven’t seen the show MacGyver, the whole basis is that he uses gadgets made out of random items to solve the particular problem that he’s in.  This is the basis for MacGruber, except MacGruber can’t make any of the gadgets he makes work out.  The best gadget he makes is the use of a celery stalk, but you should discover the use yourself.  

The funniest elements of the movie are the situations that occur.  The film has a series of situations that eventually lead to MacGruber fighting the antagonist.  These include getting his outfit and car back, building his team, building his new team, finding out info on Dieter von Cunth, staking out a coffee shop, raiding a Warehouse, crashing a party, hanging out at MacGruber’s house, going to Vicki’s house, and finally the end scene.  Broken down, it sounds pretty simple, but each scene is really treated like individual SNL skits that fit together really well.  A lot of people don’t know this, but Will Forte was actually one of the writers of the movie’s script.  You can see his kind of humor in little additions to the plot.  The best addition that I thought was one of the funniest scenes in the movie is when some guy makes fun of MacGruber’s car.  He gets the license plate number off the car and repeats it over and over to himself.  Later in the movie when MacGruber is crashing Cunth’s party, Ryan Phillippe’s character is flipping through MacGruber’s notebook and it has nothing but sketches of KFBR392 (the license plate number) with creepy childlike voices repeating the numbers.  A small addition to the plot, but it really came out of nowhere which can be the best type of humor.

The sex scenes of the movie are most likely the most awkward and funniest sex scene that I have ever seen.  It starts out with Mr. Mister playing Broken Wings, and the song just fits the theme of the movie perfectly.  The soundtrack of the movie is also part of the whole joke.  The movie may use present day songs, but they are usually cut off to MacGruber playing 80’s songs on his Blaupunkt removable player.  You’ve never seen anyone who loves Blaupunkt as much as MacGruber when he says, “How dare you!  That was a blaupunkt!  You owe me a Blaupunkt!”, after one of Cunth’s men destroys it.

MacGruber’s character has some great one liners that aren’t always funny by themselves; it’s that he repeats them over and over that make them funny.  Of course some of them too are just funny by themselves.  These Memorable ones include some profanity, so be prepared:
1.)  Time to pound some Cunth!
2.)  ...dead at the age of who the fuck cares.
3.)  MacGruber don't play like homie, and homie don't play that game.
4.)  Well, they were fucking great guys. And this is a fucking asshole of a day.
5.)  There's a big difference between winging it and seeing what happens. Now let's see what happens.
6.)  So, my face is a vagina, huh? Well, I bet you wish your nose was a dick... so you could use it to fuck butts.
7.)  Your god can't save you, but I can.
8.)  You're loco, man!  Subtitles: "You're crazy, man!"
9.)  No, leave it….I…like…holes.
10.) Yeah, I’ll take the X5 (slams bartenders head on the counter).  He didn’t know anything.
11.) I got a better idea.  How about no fucking way.

The best part of the movie is the acting by Will Forte.  He real put himself into this role.  I’m not going to say that his acting was something like Oscar worthy, but for this particular role, no one else could have done it better.  When he has just lost his whole team, he is so funny trying to get Piper to join his new team.  That whole scene of the movie is great, and I suggest you watch it multiple times to really enjoy it.  This movie also has you not thinking about any other skits or movies that Will Forte has been in.  You only think of him as being MacGruber.  This is different from say Mike Myers in roles like Wayne in Wayne’s World (1992) and the Austen Powers movies.  When I see Mike Myers, I don’t really see him as a British spy, I can only see him as Wayne Campbell (or Dieter).  Kristen Wiig also plays her part well.  The song she plays is really funny, and you can watch it on youtube:

I would actually like to hear the reasoning behind not liking this movie.  You obviously know my reasoning behind liking it, so hopefully I’ve spread the word for people to go out there and check it out.  This type of humor isn’t for everyone, but if you liked movies like Anchorman (2004), Hot Tub Time Machine (2010), Get Him to the Greek (2010), and/or The Hangover (2009); then I could see you enjoying this movie.  Watch it and let me know what you think!

A Message for Fans:
At the end of the movie, his last line is “I do”.  It’s a little hard to hear, but I heard it the second time watching it.  Next time watching the movie, try to find more one liners than I could.  I’m sure there are other funny ones out there.

A Message for Non-Fans:
I’ve heard that it has cheesy humor.  The reason that this movie didn’t get much attention is because the pretentious reviewers hated it and it spread to other reviewers like a disease.  This is why I stress the point that you should see a movie and judge it for yourself before saying, “It looks stupid,” or “I heard it was stupid.”  I’ll admit that it does have some potty humor, but it still has enough hilarity in it to make it enjoyable.

Potential Topics to Discuss:
Saturday Night Live
Will Forte/Kristen Wiig as an actor/actress
Over the top action films


  1. I’m right up there with you doubting the MacGruber movie would be any good at all. I expected it would be similar to Zohan only I didn’t like the SNL skits at all. I thought they were terrible. I like clever stupid movies, like Dumb and Dumber, and although this movie wasn’t as clever as D & D, it was clever enough for me to laugh. I thought some of the jokes were too crude for my taste, but the unnecessary swearing was funny the way they did it. I was watching on my laptop while waiting for my wife at the doctors today on after logging into my DISH employee account. Honestly the SNL movies have been lacking these last few decades, but how can anyone beat “Waynes World?”

  2. I'm the guy MacGruber is flipping off in the picture above. Needless to say this film has a big place in my heart, and your review is spot on. Great job.