A mostly-spoiler-free, mini-review. (Don’t worry, I’ll let you know where the spoiler is!)
I really LOATHE the saying “just leave your brain at the door” when trying to defend the likes of Transformers 2 and films of that nature. The proper response is “When people tell me to shut off my brain and have fun, I tell them I can’t because my brain is where I have fun.” (I got that from Eric Lichtenfeld.) While that is a genius response to a bonehead declaration, I don’t think turning off your brain should often apply to silly comedy, even though most act like it should. Film snobs, net elitists, and message board trolls want every film to be Pulp Fiction or The Dark Knight. Genre, passion, intent, and goals are all bunk ideas compared to how much a movie looks to fall into the very slim category of what they consider is GOOD. It has to be serious, be dark, and most importantly not trying to have any fun. This POV can help to evaluate certain films with certain tones for sure, Transformers 2 attempts to take itself seriously, which in turn reveals its wretched hatred of its audience. How come this is also always heaped on comedy? Sure there are a lot of soulless dead comedies, made without passion or care.
However, is it a crime to be passionate about being silly, vulgar, and stupid on purpose?
Can you not see the difference between the filmmakers of G-Force, Madea Goes To Jail, Old Dogs versus those of MacGruber? Have you truly lost every single ounce of your funny bone to the point where something DEFINING ITSELF AS A COMEDY, starring COMEDIANS and written by COMEDIANS just makes your vagina fill up with even more sand? It’s a sellout piece of shit right? THEN WHERE IS ALL THE PRODUCT PLACEMENT? (not that the lack of product placement proves anything…but seriously, this movie had none, how is it selling out?) It doesn’t make you an idiot to laugh at something silly or stupid, it doesn’t make your degree of “taste” bottom-out if you admit that a film that isn’t “Pulp Fiction-y” made you giggle. Are you saying that Albert Einstein and/or Stephen Hawking never laughed at a fart? If they did would they then be stupid? NO!!! So please, take that clichéd stick out of your ass and just try, for five minutes, to openly laugh at something you humorless prick. (by the way, I was wearing a Pulp Fiction shirt to the screening of MacGruber. I love Pulp Fiction.)
Every review, EVERY REVIEW, on the net is going to go to great detail describing the history of Saturday Night Live movies, the reviewer’s relationship to them, why they suck, and how Wayne’s World and The Blues Brothers are the only exceptions to the rule. Why? Yeah, it’s a character from SNL, so let’s compare it within and only to that group, does that fully make sense? Why can’t we just compare it to action comedies in general? I was very relieved to see the one review plastered on the poster “The best action comedy since Beverly Hills Cop.” It was a bit of a shock to see someone actually looking beyond SNL and seeing MacGruber for what it is, a movie, not only an SNL movie.
Classifying what exactly MacGruber “is” is most certainly a task within itself. A MacGyver spoof, ‘80s action parody, comedic drama? Either way, one thing is for certain, director Jorma Taccone, star Will Forte, and writer John Solomon love, love, love ‘80s action films. MacGruber isn’t so much an expanded sketch about MacGuyver’s doppelganger as it is a very direct (more so than say Hot Fuzz) send-up of 1980’s action film making. The twist of course being, what if John McClane, John Rambo, or Michael Dudikoff from American Ninja was a bumbling idiot who somehow slipped through the system and was known as the greatest warrior the military ever crapped out? The genius of this silly flick is just how straight it’s played. Will Forte and Kristen Wiig are the only buffoons to be had in the whole of the movie, everyone else, from Powers Boothe to Val Kilmer is coming right out of a dead serious action tent-pole. This approach, while confusing to some, actually earns the laughs in much more mature way, even when the laughs consist of poop jokes. I’ll admit to feeling like I was the only one laughing at a lot of the “ultra serious” moments, perhaps I went in with the “action parody” angle more than others, I wasn’t looking for a skit.
***SPOILER ALERT*** For example, when MacGruber digs up his own coffin, left over from his faked death, to get a change of his MacGruber clothes, in the pouring rain, whilst heavily dramatic music is playing, I was no good. ****END SPOILER ALERT**** Sure the piss and sex jokes are funny and well executed (for piss and sex jokes,) but it’s the quiet action-film-moments that I think will give the movie legs beyond its shock value.
Is it funny? Oh hell yes. Forte is giving 190% of himself in every frame. I know the guy has his critics, but if you are someone who questions his talent, I say that is your right, but to question his dedication is a bit absurd. Kilmer plays an over-the-top villain with a subdued demeanor, his eccentricities are absolutely hilarious, yet won’t hit everyone’s funny bone as they are executed very dry. Powers Boothe, great as always, isn’t “hamming” it up for the camera, he’s dead serious as ever, treating MacGruber with a verbal respect he’s done nothing to deserve. Kilmer and Boothe, along with straight man Ryan Philippe are the rock solid anchors to the film and it works. That, alone with Taccone doing his best to replicate the tone of Rambo takes it a few notches beyond a compilation of idiocy.
The movie does have its flaws, a few jokes will fall flat for some, and there is scattered problems with pacing that keep it from being a completely successful “action” film on its own, without the comedy. The second stroke of genius is how they beefed up the character of MacGruber. The skit might as well be considered a ghost (a boner ghost?) when it comes to giving any feedback to Forte’s hero, and they didn’t let themselves become slaves to the source. It’s not 90 minutes of MacGruber blowing up. No, instead they turned him into something more than a buffoon, he’s a clinically psychotic egomaniac who, when pushed, actually gets things done. Without going into much further detail, there are several moments in the film, funny moments too, where you realize that Mac is quite possibly disturbed to the point of it being darker than you’d ever think a comedy like this would take it.
“Bob, is it worth the price of a ticket? I have 7 kids, my wife just left me, and my arthritis makes walking feel like a bucket of nails is being siphoned into my knees caps.”
If you normally dig the type of humor on display here, if you can still watch ‘90s comedies and ‘80s action movies and be fully entertained, I say open your wallet and de-clench your anus for 90 minutes. If you hate it, I give you full permission to send me novel-length hate mail every day for the next 10 years without a single complaint from this side of the screen (as long as you’re cool with letting me post the letters under a section of my column entitled “SEARING HATRED FROM THE UNDERSEXED.”)
That’s all for MacGruber from me, Thanks for reading, and please send all hatred to the comments section below. Please Note: the preferred format of hate comments is that of Haiku, experimental limericks, and/or nonsensical mountain-man-speak with heavy cursing.
Oh and don’t forget to check out my sponsor:
This message brought to you by BLIGGY’S BORK CHUNKS, The only chunks with more sodium than Bork Strips.
2 Responses to “Opinion In A Haystack: MacGRUBER”
Leave a Reply