Thursday, September 30, 2010

MacGruber - **1/2

The obvious question when thinking about MacGruber is how do you turn a ninety-second SNL parody skit with no story or resolution into a ninety-minute theatrical film? I'm not sure, and it's not exactly clear if its creators know the answer either. The result is a hit-and-miss send-up of every action film cliche you can think of, whether or not it actually pertains to 80s cheeseball television show, MacGyver, or not. The good news is that when the jokes do land, the film can actually be very funny, but when they start failing, it gets pretty ugly. It goes in streaks where you'll get five or ten straight minutes of failed bits, and then it rebounds and gets good again. The best praise that I can give it, and it does deserve some praise, is that it always does rebound from these lulls. Val Kilmer also adds a lot as an over-the-top psychotic villain, and if nothing else, MacGruber does give me some images I never thought I'd see, like Ryan Phillippe dancing around, pants down with a celery stalk sticking out of his ass to throw off the bad guys. It sounds too low-brow to even be ironic, and I honestly cannot explain why I laughed, especially considering that fact that he was not the first person in the film to do it. MacGruber is full of moments like these, moments that I can only explain my reaction as my brain just not knowing what else to do but laugh, and somehow this film confuses my brain in this way more often than it doesn't, and that's okay with me. Like one of MacGyver's stupid plans, MacGruber isn't a gem, but it'll certainly do the trick if you're not paying too much attention.

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