Saturday, June 12, 2010


 "Making Something of Spit and Bailing Wire, and Getting...Spit-Covered Bailing Wire"

The track record for any movie coming out of the sketch-comedy of "Saturday Night Live" is pretty abysmal. "The Blues Brothers" and "Wayne's World" did fine, but their sequels didn't. We won't bring up "A Night at the Roxbury," "The Coneheads," "The Ladies Man," "It's Pat!," "Stuart Saves His Family," ad infinitude. The reason is as obvious as a Mike Myers first-draft (are there any others?)—a concept that can, at most, sustain itself for under 10 minutes has chances of "slim" and "none" of being any good stretched to 90 minutes, let alone two hours. Thank God we've never seen "Subliminal Man" made into a movie...or "The Continental."

As a 5-minute sketch idea, "
MacGruber" fits the bill for an "SNL" skit, although it's concept is the same week after week, the minutest of details being the only things changing. Will Forte plays a dorky McGyver-type, who has mere moments to defuse a bomb by creating something...bomb-defusing...using icky stuff that no one wants to touch let alone re-configure. And, of course, there are complications while Kristen Wiig does a panicked clock-check. The sketch ends with a building blowing up. Cue the Band. Christine Aguilera comes up after the break.

Same joke, every week. If something works once on "Saturday Night Live," they'll keep doing the sketch until that comedian quits or is canned. Somewhere along the way, some exec thought it a good idea to turn that well-tread idea into a feature.

It's sporadically funny in a "I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I" kind of lameness. And it boasts
Ryan Phillippe (in slow-burn mode), the usually drop-dead-funny Wiig, and such good actors slumming as Powers Boothe (good to see him) and Val Kilmer, trying to re-capture his youth with a goofy comedy role (I'm suddenly waxing nostalgic for "Real Genius" and "Top Secret!"--the name of Kilmer's character is Dieter von Cunth, which shows you the level of humor, but doesn't clue you in that they will use it over...and over...and over...and over...for a rapidly declining chance of a laugh).

In this, MacGruber is coerced out of retirement ("I thought you were dead, MacGruber.." "So did I") in a remote native village (where he can find peace), when it's learned that von Cunth may be up to something no good.*
Stuck in the 80's with his mullet, his plaid shirt, tan utility vest, and his Blaupunkt removable in-dash tape-player (he takes it everywhere). One wishes there were more entertainment value in seeing the usual action cliche's—the ones that turn up routinely (and straight) in Michael Bay films—played for laughs: the slow motion team walk, the fiery mega-explosions that have no hearing loss attached to them, the smug banter that passes for dialog, but the laughs are few and far between. You'd think given the time and budget they'd have come up with a grander concept—maybe even come up with a clever gadget or two—but there's nothing like that here. The best idea MacGruber (and the movie) can come up with is creating a distraction by going commando and parading around with a celery stalk up his ass.

No. Really. And they do it twice.

They couldn't even think up a "gadget." For pity's sake.

Save yourself. The clock is ticking. Don't go anywhere near this bomb, and watch these "MacGruber" video's instead.

"MacGruber" is such a "Waste of Time."

* ...Like the rest of the movie.

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