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Review: MacGruber

MacGruber
05.21.2010
8 10

PLOT: After his arch nemesis, Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer) steals a nuclear missile, ex-special forces operative MacGruber (Will Forte) is called out of retirement, and teamed with a young soldier (Ryan Phillipe), in an effort to foil the madman's diabolical scheme. Along the way, he rekindles his relationship with Vicki St Elmo (Kristen Wiig), who's sister was briefly married to MacGruber, before being killed by Cunth on their wedding day.

REVIEW: When I heard they were making MACGRUBER into a film, I thought it was the worst idea for an SNL film since IT'S PAT briefly stunk up multiplexes fifteen years ago. Heck, I didn't even know the MACGRUBER sketches were that popular! To be brutally honest, I never thought they were all that funny, although I appreciate the lampooning of MACGYVER, a ripe target for satire if there ever was one.


Luckily, MACGRUBER is a FAR better film that you would have had any right to expect after watching the sketches, and I'm happy to say, I had a ball watching it. The thing is, I LOVE eighties action flicks. I'm not even just talking Stallone and Schwarzenegger here, I even like the bad eighties action flicks- especially if they were produced by the late, great (OK, maybe not so great) Cannon pictures. Chuck Norris, Michael Dudikoff, Dolph Lundgren; fuck yeah!!! Obviously director Jorma Taccone, and everyone involved with MACGRUBER feels the same way, as this is a really affectionate spoof of those types of films, in the same way HOT FUZZ lampooned the Bruckheimer/Joel Silver action flicks (a much higher brow selection of action flicks, to be sure).

What's great about MACGRUBER is that, in addition to being funny as hell, it even kinda works as an action flick. Taccone's got a good eye for widescreen action, and this has a slick, polished look, with some of the action scenes being better that other recent straight action yarns like THE LOSERS. Keeping things at a lean ninety minutes, MACGRUBER hits all the beats you'd expect from a good eighties action flick. You get the pre-credits heist, the reluctant recruitment (every good eighties hero was ALWAYS reluctant), the building a team montage (set to the short lived Emmerson, Lake and Powell's non-hit, 'Touch and Go'), a crashing-the-party scene, the hero being stitched up by the leading lady, etc. We even get not one, but two love scenes (just WAIT until you get a load of this shit) both set to Mr. Mister's “classic”, Broken Wings, and, of course, the balls out final assault (my only beef is that the musical score during this scene should have been more synthy but whatever).


That said, nobody's going to MACGRUBER expecting it to be a solid action flick. That's just the icing on the cake. It's first and foremost a “pee-in-your-pants” worthy comedy. Will Forte is fan-friggin'-tastic as MACGRUBER, with him brilliantly sending up the great Richard Dean Anderson, complete with mullet, plaid, and vest. Having MacGruber be obsessed with eighties soft rock, and carry around a circa-1989 portable car stereo is almost as brilliant as the opening montage, complete with a greased up, shirtless MacGruber playing a raunchy sax solo (which made me laugh so loudly I thought I was going to get kicked out of the promo screening). Kristen Wiig is, as always, great as MacGruber's faithful love interest. Make sure to stick around during the end credits, as you'll get to hear some funny eighties rock ballads sung by Wiig in character. As for Ryan Phillipe, he more or less plays the straight man, but he's actually pretty damn decent in the role, and just the fact that he's able to keep a straight face around Forte is impressive. I also loved having eighties icon Powers Boothe show up as MacGruber's, Richard Crenna-style mentor.

Other than Forte, I gotta say the real scene stealer here is Val Kilmer. Anyone who's seen KISS, KISS, BANG, BANG (not to mention REAL GENIUS, and TOP SECRET) knows that Kilmer can do comedy, and he's bloody brilliant as Cunth (tee hee hee). It's a shame Kilmer's stuck doing DTV crap, as I still think the guy's a damn good actor (although dude needs to lay off the KFC before he hits Brando sized proportions). Kilmer's incredibly funny in this, with him never chewing the scenery, but instead being funny in a way that's more understated than Forte's style, but just as effective.

I really had a rockin' good time with MACGRUBER, as it satisfied me as both a comedy, and to my surprise, as an action flick. It gave me everything I could possibly want from a film of this type, and if you're a fellow eighties junkie, you've got to see this. It would make a KILLER double bill with DEATH WISH 3, COBRA, or the great INVASION U.S.A. Between this, and THE EXPENDABLES, could eighties action be making a comeback? We should be so lucky.

RATING: 8.5/10

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Source: JoBlo.com

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