MacGruber (2010)
By: Captain Red Eye on March 13, 2011  | 
Roadshow | Region 4, PAL | 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 5.1 | 90 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Jorma Taccone
Starring: Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Phillippe, Val Kilmer
Screenplay: Will Forte, John Solomon, Jorma Taccone
Country: USA
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MacGruber (Saturday Night Live's Will Forte) is one tough cookie, and no stranger to danger, covert operations, mullets or sensible beige vests. A former Navy Seal, Desert Eagle and Green Beret, recipient of no less than 16 Purple Hearts, three Congressional Medals of Honour and seven Presidential Medals of Bravery, he also plays a mean sax, can fashion high explosives from everyday household objects and has a penchant for ripping out the throats of bad guys while delivering a manly witticism or two. But he gave all that up when his fiancée died at the hands of the dastardly Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer, looking more like Steven Seagal by the day) and for the past decade has been living a quiet life in a dusty Ecuadorian hamlet.

That all changes when Von Cunth comes into possession of a Russian warhead. MacGruber's former commanding officer Colonel Jim Faith (Deadwood's ever-gruff Powers Boothe) realises only one man can stop the villain before it's too late, and with fresh-faced Lieutenant Piper (Ryan Phillippe) in tow he heads to South America to convince the all-American hero to take on one final mission for his country.

MacGruber is based on Forte's popular SNL sketch lampooning, of course, Richard Dean Anderson's MacGyver, and is a far better film than its mostly tepid reviews would suggest. Forte proves a likeable and adroit lead, his co-stars (with the exception of a wooden Kilmer) relish playing off his zaniness, the explosions are suitably sizable and the jokes come thick and fast. Can't ask for more than that, really.

The film does lift the odd gag and the occasional sequence certainly falls flat – I for one didn't need to see a grown man parading around with a stick of celery poking out of his ass – but even the obvious or borrowed jokes work well in the context of so much absurdity. One of the best such exchanges occurs when MacGruber confronts his arch-nemesis at an exclusive party held in Von Cunth's mansion:

MacGruber: Your companion's a very beautiful young woman.

Von Cunth: Thank you.

MacGruber: I hope you enjoy being date raped, ma'am.

Von Cunth: This is my daughter.

Moments later as he is roughly thrown out of the shindig his beloved car audio console, which he insists on carrying everywhere he goes in the event his vehicle is robbed, is summarily smashed by one of Von Cunth's thugs. 'You did not just do that!' wails MacGruber, prostrate in a pool of broken glass. 'That was a Blaupunkt! You owe me a Blaupunkt!'

The film never really exploits the comedic potential of the MacGyver element to the fullest and Val Kilmer hasn't looked this bored since his last film with 50 Cent, phoning this one in long distance presumably to help compensate for his recent tax woes. Nevertheless MacGruber is far and away the most cogent SNL film of the past fifteen years, and a veritable cornucopia of silly sight gags and cheesy, frequently laugh-out-loud funny one-liners.
Nothing to fault here. The 16:9 presentation is as bold and vibrant as a freshly-washed mullet, and the vivid transfer is devoid of artefacts or other defects.
Both a 2.0 and a 5.1 are on offer, with the latter being suitably bombastic and immersive. No problems on the audio front, with good use made of surround technology and the two-channel soundtrack also proving surprisingly robust.
Extra Features
Roadshow haven't exactly been distinguishing themselves on the special features front of late, and MacGruber is no exception; nothing whatsoever in the way of supplementary fare.
The Verdict
Sure it's more Hot Shots than The Naked Gun, more Ladies Man than Wayne's World, sure the idiosyncrasies of the action genre have been lampooned more subtly elsewhere, but as far as action spoofs go MacGruber is still highly, if guiltily, enjoyable. Complete idiocy at its finest.
Movie Score
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