Monday, May 24, 2010

Reel Thoughts: Tool Time

“MacGruber! He sticks celery up his butt and then he hops like a bunny!”

“MacGruber! He likes to rip out throats and he gets psycho with road rage!”

“MacGruber! He’s full of gay sex panic, he’s MacGruber!!”

Sure, those aren’t the real lyrics to the "MacGruber Theme Song", but they could be. The big screen version of Will Forte’s Saturday Night Live skits is a filthy, stupid and occasionally hilarious mess.

MacGruber is a take-off on MacGuyver, with both guys adept at creating weapons and escape tools out of random pieces of junk. MacGruber, however, usually ends up getting distracted by things like his son coming out or his grandma revealing embarrassing bedwetting details about him, and everything blows up. Of course, you can’t build a movie around that, so Forte and company have created a broader spoof of all kinds of spy films from Mission: Impossible to the James Bond films.


On the big screen, MacGruber has been in hiding for ten years, ever since his arch enemy Dieter Von Cunth (gleefully played by Val Kilmer) blew up his wife Casey (Maya Rudolph). Now, Von Cunth is back with a stolen nuke, so MacGruber is called to action to stop him. He’s saddled with a know-it-all rookie named Dixon Piper (played by the ab-riffic Ryan Phillippe) and enlists the help of his faithful friend Vicki St. Elmo (Kristin Wiig, sporting feathered hair). MacGruber’s methods consist mainly of getting in impossible situations and then “seeing what happens”. Usually, it’s Vicki and Piper who end up in harm’s way.

Forte and Wiig are two of SNL’s smartest and most fearless comedians, and freed of network censors, they dive headfirst into the film’s relentless sex, poop and penis jokes. MacGruber the character is a funny mass of insecurity and unwarranted bravado, and he’s given to offering blow jobs in return for not being fired. You will definitely find yourself laughing out loud at MacGruber. You’ll just hate yourself in the morning.

UPDATE: MacGruber is now available on DVD and Blu-ray from Amazon.com.

Review by Neil Cohen, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Phoenix's Echo Magazine.

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