Dustin argues the merits of the critical and box office failure “MacGruber.”
“What I’m good at is kicking ass and ripping throats.”- MacGruber
Movies adapted from SNL sketches are the textbook definition of hit-or-miss, “Wayne’s World,” “Wayne’s World 2,” “Night at the Roxbury” and “the Ladies Man” just to name a few, oh and “It’s Pat” and “Coneheads” just to add insult to injury. In that list, some are good (“Wayne’s World”) and others (the rest) aren’t, luckily, in 2010, SNL alum Will Forte teamed with the Lonely Island’s Jorma Taccone to unleash “MacGruber” on unsuspecting audiences everywhere, staking claim as one of the top SNL adaptations ever.
It’s now that I’m going to be up front and say audiences and critics wrote it off as one of the stupidest movies of the year, maybe even ever, but Movies That Rule isn’t about awards, it’s about the movies that can straight up entertain you any time you decide to watch it. Not every Movie that Rules is for everyone (except Alien, because if you don’t like Alien you don’t deserve movie privileges.)
In the film, MacGruber (Forte), a mullet-rocking, “MacGuyver”-esque character is enjoying retirement until he is asked to come back to stop the dastardly Dieter von Cunth (an amazingly delicious Val Kilmer, looking like a pudgy Pilsbury doughboy of evil) from nuclear bombing the State of the Union Address. MacGruber enlists his assistant Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig) to help and is also paired with the idealistic young Lt. Piper (Ryan Phillipe, easily the best work he’s ever done) to stop Cunth.
All of this unfolds exactly how you would expect it to; ridiculously. There are sequences in this movie that make me laugh just by thinking about them and quotes that to this day will elicit fits of laughter from entire groups of people if said at the right moment.
For example; MacGruber assembles an unstoppable team of badasses to help him in his mission with mixed results.
Scenes and moments like this come nonstop, including one scene involving MacGruber’s dead wife in a graveyard that single-handedly ruined a date I went on where we saw “Charlie St. Cloud” and I just couldn’t help but laugh at the similarities.
Chances are you’re familiar with the comedy styling of director Jorma Taccone from his work with “the Lonely Island” which is the group that had all of those wildly popular and funny “Digital Shorts” on SNL. So if you find yourself entertained by those, it’s likely this movie will at least elicit dumb laughs from you because Taccone isn’t out to reinvent the wheel, he’s just going for broke. Everyone is.
Forte was always one of my favorites during his time on SNL and he takes the freedom of an R-rating and runs with it.
Wiig and Phillipe are both asked to do some pretty ridiculous things and while with Wiig it’s no surprise she nails it given her SNL history, Phillipe really steps up and showcases some comedic chops that I didn’t think he had in him.
Stealing the movie though is Val Kilmer as the evil mastermind with a diabolical plan and an even more diabolical ponytail. This is a role he could have easily just phoned-in to collect a paycheck but from the opening scene until the credits, it’s clear he came ready to have fun.
That’s the key to the movie- fun, everyone involved just looks like they’re having a great time and while that doesn’t win box office weekends and impress critics, it’s far more entertaining to watch and it makes the silly humor that dominates “MacGruber” more endearing than you may think possible.
Dustin Brewer is co-owner of HefferBrew. He watched “MacGruber” in an empty theater with one of his best friends and laughed until he cried from beginning to end. Everyone has those comedies that others think they’re crazy for enjoying and “MacGruber” is one of his. Reach Dustin on Twitter @dstnbrwr with your guilty pleasure movies using #HefferBrewMovies. Thanks for reading and tell your friends!