What You Need To Know:
Technically, this movie is well crafted, but the writing is sophomoric. It frequently digs to the lower levels of adolescent humor. Direction is adequate, but there’s really not much in terms of acting, though the actors seem to try. With a strong pagan worldview and some Eastern influences, the movie is awash in foul language, nudity and sex scenes that’s unacceptable and excessive. MACGRUBER had tremendous potential, but it just doesn’t pay off.
(PaPaPa, FR, B, Ho, OO, LLL, VV, SS, NN, A, D, MM) Very strong pagan worldview with Eastern religious influences and some light moral elements as well homosexual references, plus strong occult content with interactions between a man and the ghost of his wife; at least 58 obscenities, 40 which are the “f” word, eight profanities, vulgar language, many crude references to male and female anatomy, and characters give each other “the finger”; strong violence including several machine gun battles, carnage in the aftermath of a firefight, bullet wounds, a half-dozen “throat-rippings,” man being smashed by a delivery truck, man used as “shield” and shot over times, but later it’s revealed he has a bullet proof vest; strong sexual content includes two depicted sexual scenes and several references to oral sex; nudity includes upper female nudity, rear male nudity, obscured full frontal male nudity with private parts genitals covered, and female cleavage; drinking of alcohol; some smoking; and, hero is bad role model.
Based on the Saturday Night Live sketch, MACGRUBER is the story of a special agent attempting to stop a terrorist. This is yet another entry in the long and varied list of SNL franchises and one that doesn’t translate well to the big screen.
Opening with a scene of carnage, a military convoy has been ambushed, MacGruber (played by Will Forte), the only man ever to be a Green Beret, Navy SEAL, and Army Ranger, is resurrected and brought back into service. His ‘dream team’ is short lived, and he has to assemble a second team, consisting of old flame Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig) and Lt. Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillippe). Their nemesis, the ruthless Dieter, played by Val Kilmer, is a self-serving terrorist who has just acquired the X-5 nuclear missile stolen in the opening.
Through a series of mishaps, MacGruber and his team blunder through a scattered but generous body count of bad guys in order to take out their enemy and foil his plans. MacGruber makes mistake after mistake, often relegating his negotiations to begging people and desperately pleading (usually resulting in him offering sexual favors). After consummating his relationship with Vicki, MacGruber returns to the grave of his dead wife, Casey, who was killed by Dieter on his wedding day, and consummates his relationship with her ghost.
Being a “good sport,” however, ghost Casey gives her approval that Mac can continue in his relationship with Vicki. Will MacGruber be able to stop the evil plot, save the world, and get the girl?
Technically, this movie is well crafted, but the writing, by Forte, John Solomon, and director Jorma Taccone, is sophomoric. It frequently digs to the lower levels of adolescent humor and begs for laughs. Sometimes it scores, however, like when MacGruber loses his dream team due to his own incompetence, and the rich 1980s music score is cute. Even so, most of the time the laughs are due to desperate pandering and crude, bathroom humor.
Direction by Taccone is adequate, but there’s really not much in terms of acting. He stages his scenes well, making reasonable use of his camera, and the editing paces the film soundly. The focus of the piece, Forte in the title role, is built on a caricature, and although Forte fleshes him out (all too often, in the worst form of the word), it’s still just a caricature. Wiig, as love interest Vicki, should be vulnerable, but more often than not her character is weak. Not her performance, but the character. Wiig does what she can with what she’s been given. Phillippe, as Piper, adds a little dimension to the movie, and so does Kilmer, but it might be too little too late.
With a very strong pagan worldview and some eastern influences, the movie is awash in foul language, including over 40 “f” words. Additionally, there are many crude references to body parts. In terms of sexual content, there is brief upper female nudity, full frontal male nudity that is covered up, and rear male nudity. There is also cleavage in a gambling scene, replete with drinking and smoking. Finally, there are two, partially-covered sex scenes, one with a ghost.
MACGRUBER has its laughs, but most are strained and many are desperate. It is recommended to exercise extreme caution. MACGRUBER had tremendous potential, but it just doesn’t pay off.