MacGruber (2010)

Directed by Jorma Taccone
Written by Will Forte, John Solomon & Jorma Taccone

2010 was a down year for comedies. Fact. MacGruber is a 2010 comedy. Fact. There are always exceptions to the rule and I welcome them with open arms, but when I saw that Will Forte and the gang from Saturday Night Live were releasing this film I was underwhelmingly excited. And by that I mean I was not excited. These types of films have their audiences, otherwise they would not continue to be made. I don’t mean SNL films because there have been a few that worked, and quite well actually. Take Wayne’s World for instance. No, I mean the parody film. To this day, Mel Brooks is the only person who has parodied something and made me laugh with it.

So you guessed it, MacGruber is based on an SNL skit starring Will Forte as a caricature of late 80s television sensation MacGyver, which was a great show that I loved watching the re-runs of as a kid. The basic premise is a guy who can make things work with basic every day items, allowing him to continually thwart the enemy. In this case, MacGruber, a gross exaggeration of a character, must thwart Cunth (Val Kilmer) before he can release a nuclear bomb on Washington, D.C. He calls Lt. Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillipe) and Vicki St. Elmo (Kristin Wiig) to his side to aid his march to victory, domination, and throat ripping.

Like every parody movie before it, the film is just way too over the top for my liking. The comedy is thrown at the audience as shock and trying to get a reaction from them. SNL is a beloved show, but these are not their glory years. The writing has become a far cry from what it once was and the style and ability is reflected here in the outlandishness of the narrative. It is so formulaic and straightforward, which is what it was trying to be with some over the top comedy added. But this approach, with the absence of said comedy, just made it bland and snoozeworthy.

I have been ripping on the comedy and maybe unrightfully so. There were some laughs, though not as many as a comedy might otherwise suggest. The other thing is that comedy is one of the most subjective things going. What is funny to one is not always funny to another. I know parody is not my type of comedy. It annoys me and makes me mad sometimes. If parody is your thing and you like the atrocious Scary Movie series, or perhaps the great Epic Movie or Vampires Suck, you just might find this film worth your while. I, on the other hand, traded an hour and a half for about half a laugh. Hopefully 2011 will redeem the comedy world.

Adam Kuhn

Adam Kuhn was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he attended Saint Charles Preparatory School. He studied History at the University of Cincinnati, where he was a contributor of The News Record, the twice-weekly, independent student news organization. He has been writing film reviews and blogging since 2009.

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