It’s probably not a good sign to start a review by saying that the film wasn’t anywhere near as bad or as stupid as I was afraid it’d be, but that’s exactly how I felt after the end credits of the new Saturday Night Live spin-off MacGruber. Crude and sophomoric, it still had lots of laughs and a surprisingly polished appearance, coupled with amusingly over-the-top performances from some decent actors.
The story line is something or other about a nuclear missile, the X5, stolen by thuggish bad guys from a military convey in Siberia. Their mastermind? The evil Dr. Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer), who has nefarious plans to, bwahahaha, blow up the world! Of course, in a parody film as crass as this 99 minute movie by first time director Jorma Taccone the story doesn’t really matter that much. It’s all about the sight gags and the one liners, and MacGruber doesn’t disappoint.
Will Forte is MacGruber, a retired special forces operative who previously served as an Army Ranger, Navy SEAL, Army Green Beret and was awarded 16 purple hearts, 3 Congressional Medals of Honor and more. Problem is, he’s a complete idiot and everything he gets involved with goes sideways and often results in innocent bystanders dying. A newspaper headline flashes by at the beginning of the film “MacGruber stops terrorist cell, 200 civilians casualties” and that’s about the sensibility of the entire film.
If you’ve seen any action films in the last decade, you’ll recognize cliche scenes and dialog that keeps the film moving along, even as some of the scenes are rather, um, indelicate. Still, I laughed quite a bit during the film, and, yes, cringed once or twice too.