Whenever I sit through a film as insultingly stupid, insufferably moronic, shamefully imbecilic, inexcusably inane, and tastelessly profane as this one, all I can do is be amazed by two thoughts. The first is that somebody actually had the unmitigated audacity to make a movie as completely worthless as this one. But even more astounding is the idea that someone somewhere may even like it.
Unless you have been in an extended coma, you probably know that MacGruber is a character that was created several years ago on “Saturday Night Live” by Will Forte as a spoof on “MacGyver,” the popular television series that ran from 1985 to 1992. The show was consistently innovative and fascinating and revolved around a secret agent played by Richard Dean Anderson. The gimmick in the show was that MacGyver was opposed to violence, and so he refused to carry a gun, relying instead on his trusty Swiss army knife to get him out of trouble. He also was famous for using common implements in ingenious combinations.
Forte portrays the hero as a bumbling and profane loudmouth who thinks he knows everything when he really knows nothing. Of course, this is the way the character was represented in the “Saturday Night Live” skits. In the film’s production information, writer/director Jorma Taccone offered some insight into him.
“MacGruber was a pitch I had at SNL that has morphed into this character with a lot of problems. He’s very insecure and very bull-headed. We’ve done a number of these sketches on the show, which are always in three parts, and it’s usually MacGruber getting worse and worse at his job in some way. He either becomes more and more of an alcoholic, more of a closet racist or has just lost all his money in the stock market. He’s a real American hero…with issues.”
The film begins 10 years after MacGruber’s fiancée, Casey (Maya Rudolph), was murdered, and the former Green Beret, Navy SEAL, and Army Ranger has packed away his 16 purple hearts, three Congressional Medals of Honor, and seven presidential medals of bravery and vowed to live a life of peace. His plans change quickly, however, when Col. Faith (Powers Boothe), his former commanding officer, seeks him out and informs him that the villainous Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer) has obtained a nuclear warhead and plans to use it for dastardly purposes.
MacGruber comes out of retirement, recruits Lt. Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillippe) and Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig), and sets out to foil Cunth’s evil plans. What follows is an often graphically violent, overly obscene, and consistently humorless that’s enough to make serious film buffs consider taking up knitting.
Forte, who must have been graduated suma cum laude from the Will “I’m-Always-Yelling” Ferrell School of Acting, spends most of his time on the screen screaming obscenities and running around like an idiot, but I guess that what he is supposed to do. In the meantime, poor Phillippe appears to be totally bored with his role of Forte’s straight man. Then there’s Wiig, who seems to be just along for the ride.
I will admit that I’ve never seen one of the “MacGruber” skits on “Saturday Night Live,” but if this pathetically lame film is representative of them, I certainly am not sorry that I’ve missed them. And I’m going to do everything in my power to avoid them in the future.
“MacGruber” (Let’s give it a big, fat 0.) has absolutely nothing to recommend it. It is insufferably boring, tiresomely unoriginal, and excessively gross. And if there is a sequel in the offing, count me out. I’d rather watch a third-grade basketball game that ends in a scoreless tie.