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Movie Review


Back in the 1990s, it seemed that every recurring sketch on "Saturday Night Live" became feature-film fodder. In case you forgot, those were bad times. Now, in the spirit of "Stuart Saves His Family," "Superstar," and whatever that thing about the hyper-annoying androgyne with the Afro was called, comes "MacGruber."

Directed by first-time feature helmer Jorma Taccone, "MacGruber" stars Will Forte as the title character plucked from the "Saturday Night Live" sketch that parodies the television series "MacGyver." If " 'MacGyver' parody" sounds like thin material for a recurring comedy sketch, that's because it is. To build a movie around such a concept, Taccone and Forte—who together co-authored the script with John Solomon—knew they would need to add layers not previously present. This being a comedy, you would think they would add layers of things that are funny. But instead the filmmakers pile on lots of action sequences and shots of Forte's bare ass. The action stuff is slick in a generic, Brett Ratner sort of way. As for the ass, Forte's is funny-looking enough, but after you see it for the fourth or fifth time, you might start to think that you're watching the movie Luke Wilson goes to see in "Idiocracy," the one that's nothing but a bare ass farting for 90 minutes. "MacGruber" does have a plot—a buffoonish Rambo type comes out of retirement to take down the terrorist who killed his wife, or whatever—but it's only slightly more sophisticated than the farting-ass movie's.

Which isn't to say that the problem with "MacGruber" is that it's too lowbrow. Since long before the audio was added to the bean-eating scene in "Blazing Saddles," lowbrow humor has been practiced in sophisticated fashion. The problem with "MacGruber" is that it is aggressively unfunny. It relies, as all the worst "SNL" films do, on a presumed pre-existing affection for the main character rather than on, you know, good comedy. That's a shame, because Forte might be the weird, unsung genius of the current "SNL"—the Phil Hartman of his moment. But he's wasted (as is his equally talented but overexposed co-star, Kristen Wiig) on a loud, expensive-looking, stupid picture. The sad part is that Forte's undoing is his own handiwork. He made this character—and now, we can only hope, he has killed it dead.

Genre: Comedy
Written by: Will Forte, John Solomon, Jorma Taccone
Directed by: Jorma Taccone
Starring: Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Phillippe, Val Kilmer

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