BLOGS

MacGruber is No <I>Wayne’s World</i>, But It’s No <I>Coneheads</i> Either

There was a strange phenomenon happening with MacGruber in its early months of test screenings -- the project quickly went from a laughably ill-advised idea to a buzzed-about, anticipated comedy, and nobody could believe it. I saw the movie last night, and I can tell you that although I definitely did laugh quite a bit, it is far from a classic, and anything but brilliant. Stupid, childish, forgettable fun, however? That, it absolutely is. And I think that's all it wants to be.

The plot is as straightforward as can be: MacGruber is (somehow, despite being a mentally deficient buffoon) a decorated military operative who is pulled out of retirement to defeat an old foe (Val Kilmer) who has stolen a nuclear weapon. MacGruber puts a team together, accidentally blows them up, and then replaces them with Ryan Phillippe (a highly trained soldier) and Kristen Wiig (a highly trained keyboardist and owl figurine collector). The jokes aren't terribly varied -- much like the SNL sketch upon which the movie is based, the jokes are entirely about MacGruber being a clueless, ineffectual jackass, with a healthy amount of jabs at the late '80s peppered in -- but many of them are pretty funny. MacGruber's go-to choice of diversion, for example, is to remove all his clothes, stick a celery stalk in his butt, and waddle around like a penguin, for example. That shit's funny. It's the dumbest thing I've ever seen, but it made me laugh.

The whole movie's pretty much like that -- MacGruber screwing stuff up, MacGruber having no self-awareness, MacGruber being into weird sex stuff. I'm not really sure why early critics were lauding it as one of the best comedies in recent memory. Maybe it's the fact that the movie has a ridiculously high production value for its budget (director Jorma Taccone sort of knows what he's doing, as it turns out!), but I suspect it was simply that those critics came into the movie with the lowest expectations imaginable, found the movie funnier and far less annoying than they expected and just freaked the hell out. I don't blame them; I probably would have done the same thing if I'd gone into this thing cold. But if you're expecting the next Wayne's World or Blues Brothers, this ain't it. Just go, laugh at the celery butt, and completely forget about MacGruber in a few months. It's harmless fun.

Did you see MacGruber? Tell us what you thought below! And see our list of the best and worst SNL movies ever!

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