The Videogum Movie Club: MacGruber

Well, first of all, I guess we should address the elephant in the blog. From the LA Times:

“MacGruber,” the latest “Saturday Night Live” skit to be mistakenly turned into a movie, bombed big time. It took in only $4.1 million in its opening weekend, the lowest debut for any major release this year. With hope, “SNL” executive producer Lorne Michaels will finally get the message and put this tired skit to sleep next fall when the show comes back.

Yikes. Of course, what is hilarious is that from where I am sitting (on a pile of garbage) 4.1 million dollars is still SO MANY DOLLARS. But I get it. That’s not enough! That being said, I don’t really understand why the movie’s economic failure would cause Lorne Michaels to pull the sketch from the show, considering that the sketch was successful enough to inspire and raise financing for an entire movie? But I’m sure whoever writes up the weekend’s Box Office data for the LA Times is a comedy professional whose opinions about what is and isn’t funny and what should and should not be on TV are very important and necessary and accurate. Definitely.

But so, MacGruber: not bad! Not GREAT but not bad!

The biggest problem with the movie, I think, is that when you play a comedic action movie pretty straight, ultimately you are getting the worst of both worlds: a watered down action movie and a watered down comedy. It’s sort of the same point I was trying to make with Kick-Ass, which is, like, if you throw in actual action sequences into a comedy movie to try and make it seem like a real action movie, it will mostly leave you wanting more on either side of the coin. It will end up being neither funny enough, nor actiony enough, for anyone’s tastes. So there’s that. The only time anyone has successfully made an enjoyable action-packed comedy was Die Hard With A Vengeance. Every time MacGruber delved into actual action sequences I delved into actual being kind of bored.

And the movie was a little too farty, in the end. For as much as I might criticize the Paul Blart Mall Fart-ization of American Comedy into a lowest-common-denominator fart-fest of lazy laughs, I can appreciate a good fart joke, AND I can recognize when even the fart jokes that people I admire make are too farty. And this had both. Some of the gross-out bathroom humor made me laugh and some of it did not make me laugh. WHAT A ROLLER-COASTER RIDE! The miracles, the magic miracles. But there weren’t a lot of jokes BESIDES fart jokes, and that was unfortunate. Unless threatening to cut someone’s dick off and shove it in his mouth counts as a joke, in which case there were two kinds of jokes: fart jokes and that kind.

All of that being said, I DID enjoy the movie. The volume of laughs may have been a little low, but the quality of the laughs was often very high. Some big laughs in there! Will Forte is so funny, and so is Kristen Wiig. NO AH-DUH. And together they are the funniest. And they know it. I’m not sure if you noticed (since I’m not even sure you saw this, since apparently no one did) but during the MacGruber-Vicki sex scene, Kristen Wiig kept turning her face away from the camera because she was clearly laughing. It’s fun to watch people have fun! My favorite parts of the movie were when MacGruber’s tough-guy-facade (which itself was a facade) would break down and he would whine or offer to suck a dick or be excited by how similar he and the bad guy’s van explosions were. I also laughed very hard at MacGruber’s notebook.

I didn’t even mind Ryan Phillipe, with his Silly Putty face and his male-impersonator voice.

Before the movie came out, some people compared it to Wayne’s World, and it’s unfortunate that those comparisons proved to be inaccurate. Not just because Wayne’s World was great, but because at the time that Wayne’s World came out, on my 40th birthday, it felt IMPORTANT. And it would be cool if there was another comedy like that: a cultural event comedy. A comedy that reminded people why comedies can be the best thing ever for real. I guess The Hangover was kind of like that, but not really. The Hangover wasn’t nearly as silly, or as fun. Or as inspirational. It’s main claim to fame (besides helping to introduce Zach Galifianakis to a much wider audience, which is, of course, important, but still) is making a TON of money. LOL?

And so we continue to wait for The One True Comedy. But at least we had some laughs to pass the ti–[EXPLOSION!]