James Helsby

LRE #20: MacGruber

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Little Red Envelope

In my mailbox this week:

Release Year: 2010
Staring: Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Phillippe

MacGyver was my hero. Seriously. I liken myself to him, and his brilliant ingenuity in everything that I do. But, MacGyver is prime for spoof. So iconic, and so cliche. Does MacGruber do the parody any justice?

No. No it doesn’t.

But having watched the Unrated version of MacGruber, I get the gist that it really isn’t supposed to. All it is doing, is taking a character reference, one that I said earlier is iconic, and making a joke based around it.

MacGruber was born of Saturday Night Live, as a recurring sketch staring Will Forte, and Kristen Wiig. The skit, traditionally consisted of short little 30 to 60 second long pre or post commercial routines.

In my favorite, MacGruber is trapped in a weapons silo with Kristen (as Vikki) and Shia LaBeouf (as Merrill, MacGruber’s secretly homosexual son.) MacGruber can’t deal with it, and has resorted to trying to convert Merrill to the ‘straight’ side. Merrill fakes being straight, and in the final moments, leans in to kiss Vikki to prove his heterosexuality, and promptly vomits just as the bomb explodes.

Something here, just makes sense.

You see, MacGruber is great in small doses. The tricks, the gadgets, and methods all make sense when you take them OUT of context. But when you stretch out a 60 second long skit (even if there are a lot of them) and try to make a coherent 2 hour movie, it just doesn’t work.

We end up with MacGruber trying too hard to be a bad-ass, trying too many of the same jokes, and relying on his own cliche to get him through a scene.The results are offering oral gratifications to Dixon

Piper (Ryan Phillippe). He offers these same gratifications at no less than 3 times during the course of the film. He also inserts a celery stalk into his rectum to act as a distraction to guards outside of a building. It works for them, but for me it doesn’t.

Celery Stalks at Midday

It was really a lowbrow film. And while that is all fine and dandy, when you are dealing with the spoof of MacGyver, you really have so much potential material with which you can make fun. Why not even a single mention of MacGyver’s first name? Angus.

The props that MacGruber uses have absolutely no function, and are in fact completely unused; save the a fore mentioned celery stalk.I would have much preferred to see MacGruber crank out a nuclear weapon, using a clothes pin and rubber band. To me, that would have been much more humorous.

So MacGruber was lowbrow. Who really cares. It was a funny movie. I might not have been busting my seams with laughter, but I did get a few laughs out. I think it might hold the record for the most gratuitous use of the f-word in a modern film, (currently it isn’t listed, so I might have to count.) So keep it away from the kids.

But you know what? If you are in the mood for seeing repetitive jokes, about cutting off Val Kilmer’s (Dieter Von Cunth) manhood, and shoving it into his mouth, then this movie is for you. If you are in the mood for intelligence… move along. Enjoy what you will, when you can, and for me, MacGruber was fun.


How painful was it: It was bad. Really bad. But fun, in its own right. If you can make it past the ass jokes, oral jokes, and most disturbing sex scene ever filmed (twice), then you may enjoy it.
Rating: 6/10. I can’t turn down a good comedy. I can rarely turn down a bad comedy. Something in the middle just gives me a frame of reference for both extremes.

The Wife’s Retort: I can’t believe you made me watch this.

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