Movie review: "MacGruber"

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

As we noted earlier this week, movies spun off from "Saturday Night Live" clips are a hit-and-mostly-miss bunch. "MacGruber" is one of the more ridiculous movie concepts, based on a one-joke recurring sketch about an easily distracted MacGyver clone who fails to defuse a ticking time bomb.

So, going in with relatively low expectations, I was mildly surprised. It's not a riot, but there are enough flat-out silly laughs to make it worth seeing, preferably after a couple of beers.

Former special operative MacGruber (Will Forte) is lured out of retirement when his former nemesis Dieter von Cunth (played by Val Kilmer and pronounced how you think) steals a nuclear weapon.

MacGruber forms a crack team of badasses ... but it's short-lived. His B-team includes old friend Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig) and the hotshot Lt. Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillippe).

Directed and co-written by Jorma Taccone (the Lonely Island member who didn't go on a boat), "MacGruber" works pretty well as a sendup of cheeseball '80s action movies, sort of in the same vein as "Team America."

It also gets a lot of mileage out of its R rating. Forte's offbeat delivery can be a little strange, but there's something about him dropping an f-bomb here.

There are fewer laughs from the rest of the cast. Phillippe doesn't jump to comedy well, and I just saw Kilmer's arch-villain parody executed better by Jason Patric in "The Losers."

Still, it's silly enough that it's not a bomb.


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Grade: B-