Saturday, December 4, 2010


Directed by Jorma Taccone.
2010. Rated R, 90 minutes.
Will Forte
Kristen Wiig
Val Kilmer
Ryan Phillippe
Powers Boothe
Andy Mackenzie
Maya Rudolph
Jasper Cole

Macgruber (Forte) is an ex-Navy SEAL with more awards than you can count. He’s already saved the world numerous times. For the last ten years, he’s been declared dead but has been living peacefully in another country. His old buddy Col. Faith (Boothe) comes calling for him to rescue us once more.

Since this is supposed to be a spoof of the thousands of movies with similar plots, Macgruber isn’t your typical strapping buck oozing testosterone with every step. Nor does he possess off the charts intelligence he was to outwit his foes. He’s regular enough in appearance, which is fine. However, he’s a total moron in every sense of the word that we’re supposed to believe was once a hero.

The character Macgruber is where the biggest problem with the movie Macgruber lies. The movie insists there was some greatness there to be lost. The neverending acts of buffoonery which follow, sink that notion. It doesn’t help that he still looks very young and hardly world-weary, not to mention he’s an ex-SEAL that doesn’t know how to use a gun. We never believe he was ever capable of the heroism assigned to him. Essentially, this means we’re not deconstructing a hero, we’re watching an idiot try really hard to make us laugh by doing idiotic things. The latter is never as fun as the former. Think back to the far less hyped but better Shoot ‘em Up, starring Clive Owen. The man who saves the day didn’t have to be a dunce for us to get that the whole thing is a ruse, one that actually makes us laugh.

Having an imbecile for a hero can work if the jokes are smart. The entire Naked Gun franchise is built on the dim bulb we’ve come to know and love as Frank Drebin, played by the recently late and always great Leslie Nielsen. However, the jokes themselves are exceedingly clever, for the most part. The ones that aren’t are far more forgivable and still make us laugh because of the ones that surround them. The best Macgruber can muster is our title character sticking celery up his butt, humping a tombstone and offering oral sex to men to get his way. That last one was done much funnier by a couple puppets in Team America, another better spoof.

There are a few occasions where Macgruber makes us laugh. It takes so many cracks at it, it will inevitably hit the target at least a few times. I’m reminded of the old saying about how often broken clocks are right.

MY SCORE: 4/10

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