Sunday 20 June 2010

Review: MacGruber

Year: 2010
Director: Jorma Taccone
Screenplay: Will Forte & John Solomon & Jorma Taccone
Starring: Will Forte, Kristin Wiig, Ryan Philippe, Val Kilmer, Powers Boothe, Maya Rudolph

When it comes to Saturday Night Lives films, it's a general consensus that most favour the likes of The Blues Brothers and Waynes World while trashing most of the rest (It's Pat gets crapped on a lot). Many believe that this is down to taking a one note skit and stretching it for 90 minutes. A difficult task, but one that can succeed depending on how creative the film makers can be. The Blues Brothers is a heady mix of organized chaos, car crashes and damn fine music with a (then) dependable double act leading the mix. Wayne's World, like Dumb and Dumber or Beavis and Butthead, plays very smart with their dumb leads. Film's like MacGruber is a one trek pony of a movie about a vulgar MacGyver wannabe, with jokes as soggy as tea soaked digestives. It's a film that got one or two laughs from me but considering a ticket for the cinema can cost someone up to £10 for one ticket, £5 a laugh, isn't a good average.

A big problem is that MacGruber (A woeful Forte) is a complete dick. A man with no charm but bags of cockiness. He's stupid and ignorant, but the film doesn't have enough self awareness to truly make light of this, so what we get is naff scene after naff scene of an idiot doing stupid and/or childish things that we're not particularly interested in. The worst thing is there's things in the film and the MacGruber characters that if used more/correctly I would have been keeling over in laughter with. A running joke involves MacGruber hating on a driver who badmouths his car. When a character finds MacGruber's notebook later on and sees the hate take on a obsessive Torrance like streak, the film finds humour in that scenes abstract craziness, the same goes for an over the top sex scene that runs a couple of beats too long the first time but enters an otherworldly nuttiness that brought a juvenile smile to my face.

If MacGruber decided to head more towards that sort of territory I could see myself enjoying the film more. But the film doesn't care enough. In fact so much of what it tries is inept, but with a script that can't even dish up some creative swearing (despite that being the films primary weapon), are you surprised?

Comedies like this also need actors with comic timing, something that co-star Kristin Wiig does have but doesn't use. This isn't her fault mind has the films pitiful direction does nothing to highlight the films comic moments...when they do actually arise. Ryan Phillippe looks far too embarrassed to be of any help, while Val Kilmer doesn't even bother to make what could have been an amusing role... actually funny. The less said about Forte the better. This is nothing but a performance of forced mugging, idiotic shouting and a bad haircut.

Films like this make me sigh because unlike a film that tries to hard, MacGruber doesn't even seem to be trying. It's a film that has an opening riff on Rambo that Hot Shots Part Deux did better almost twenty years ago. It's simplistic humour wants to appeal to the youths of the audiences, but is based on 80's movies that they wouldn't give a crap about. It wants to be crass and vulgar, but can't even be bother to reach Apatow levels. In fact any teen with a youtube account and a video camera could whip up something like this and it would probably be funnier. Shorter too.