MacGruber: SNL Makes a Big Doody on Screen

macgruberDo you remember when you first learned the word "ka ka" or "poo poo" and then kept repeating the term incessantly for days on end at inappropriate moments? If so, you have a handle on the woefully unfunny, extended Saturday Night Live sketch MacGruber. Apparently a takeoff on the '80s TV series MacGyver, which itself was a takeoff on spy movies, the film -- co-written by its star Will Forte, its director Jorma Tacone, and SNL resident scribe John Solomon -- has nothing on its little mind except trying to cash in big on opening weekend. Possibly if Forte had the talent and the looks of Mike Meyers, he could have pulled this effort off. But Forte is too attractive to make you laugh without the appropriate material. Here he's Playgirl centerfold material with a bad haircut. Anyway, the main villain is Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer). Please note the importance of the last syllable. This is the film's main joke, one which permits various folks to avow throughout the feature, "I want to pound some Cunth," or "Fuck you, Cunth!" Cunth earns this distaste by stealing a nuclear bomb he wants to explode at the White House. (A foreign power is paying him well for this service.) MacGruber is an ex-special operative who retired years ago after his wife was blown up on their wedding day. He's currently residing in a Buddhist-like state in Rio Bamba, Ecuador, when Col. James Faith (Powers Boothe) begs him to save millions of innocent Americans. The tranquil warrior doesn't want to get involved until he hears who the lead villain is. Yes, Cunth was the bastard bomber who destroyed MacGruber's love. But the years haven't been kind to the once spectacular hero. He's now just spectacularly inept without being aware of the fact. This becomes apparent when, after recruiting his old gang, he accidentally blows them up. Consequently, MacGruber winds up with a rather paltry number of sidekicks: Lt. Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillippe), an untried government employee, plus the lush Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig), a "hottie" with a Farrah Fawcett coiffure. Can this threesome be the saviors of the ol' U.S. of A.? Well, that's never in doubt. What is unexpected is getting to see Forte running around nude with a stick of celery stuck up his ass. We also get to hear the "star" state numerous times to Cunth, "I will cut off your dick and stick it down your throat." Sadly, we only get to hear a "date rape" joke once. And then there's the laugh riot: "I always get an erection when a woman uses a pair of pliers near my balls." You see, our hero is a closeted, masochistic bisexual who, when he doesn't get his way, offers to change one's mind with "I will suck your dick and you can fuck my ass." Witless, but surprisingly well acted and shot, MacGruber is more than just a waste of your time. It's a defilement of 99 minutes. - Brandon Judell brandon.jpgMr. Judell is featured in the forthcoming documentary Activist: The Times of Vito Russo and has been edited out of Rosa von Praunheim's New York Memories. In the fall, he'll be teaching "American Jewish Theater" and "Theater into Film" at The City College of New York. He has written on film for The Village Voice,, The New York Daily News, and The Advocate, and is anthologized in Cynthia Fuchs's Spike Lee Interviews (University Press of Mississippi).