When I'm at a loss
on how to write something up, I remember the basic rules of
journalism. I'm no journalist. Screw that. I'd rather be a poet
or philosopher. At least they have the potential to earn a living.
Still, if what I remember about journalism from Encyclopedia
Brown is correct, each story must answer three basic questions:
What the fuck? Who the fuck? Why the fuck?
What the fuck is
MacGruber? It's the latest stream of tarry shit from
the ass that is Saturday Night Live, a show with inestimable
talent for taking dumps on comedy. The movie is based on a recurring
sketch that's been deemed a classic not for funniness so much
as because they keep on doing it. In general, Saturday Night
Live is consistently unfunny and repetitive. Like meeting
someone at a party who keeps telling the same bad joke hoping
that eventually you'll laugh. The show wants to be hip and young,
but really it's only watched by old people nostalgic for what
they think it once was. Old people who believe they're still
"with it", that is. So, the show and its audience are complicit
in getting each other to think they're still cool. I imagine
its audience sits at home alone on Saturday nights, drinking
Lime Budweiser, with goatees and self-consciously wearing porkpie
hats to cover their bald spots.
reinforces the old, fake hipster notion because it's a parody
of an easily-parodied show that went off the air nearly two
decades ago. The old TV program was about a shaggy veteran who
could use discarded objects to improvise all sorts of shit and
catch bad guys. It might have made a decent one-off sketch in
1989, but Saturday Night Live has beaten it to a pulp
over the years and now hauls its carcass up onto the big-screen,
as worn out and weathered as a teen boy with a stash of Penthouse
Forums and dirty socks.
Who the fuck is MacGruber?
He's a character created by someone whose idea of clever is
to name a MacGyver parody MacGruber. The lead
character, played with artless bombast by Will Forte, is a former
marine who, apparently, got through basic training and dozens
of missions without ever learning to use a gun. Instead, he
rips out enemies' throats and incompetently makes improvised
weapons, like tennis ball bombs and homemade plastic explosives.
It's unfair to lump
Forte into the ninth circle of hell of miserable former Saturday
Night Live performers like Chris Kattan and Horatio Sanz.
Let's put him in the eighth circle, alongside Anthony Michael
Hall and Kenan Thompson. Forte is scared shitless of subtlety.
So scared you won't know he's being funny that he pushes every
gag past the good part and into flop sweat. You rarely laugh
because he's funny; you sometimes laugh because you know it's
the reaction he wants.
is called out of retirement to kill Val Kilmer. Not really Val
Kilmer, although we can wish. Kilmer plays a Mystic-Tanned bad
guy with a vaguely German name that includes the word "Cunt."
That cunt simplifies the writers' jobs. Rather than actually
come up with gags, they just have people saying cunt. Hee hee.
The movie's main
gag is that Forte's hero is incompetent. That's sort of like
every hero in thriller parodies, such as the funnier Austin
Powers and the way funnier Peter Sellers' Pink Panther
movies. Hey, why not rent one of those? Forte accidentally blows
up a truckload of compatriots. He announces to the world that
he's still alive when his advantage was that everyone thought
he was dead. I empathize with the world's wishful thinking.
Forte is joined by Kristen Wiig, another Saturday Night Live
performer, but one who is funny, can act and has done well in
better movies. His other compatriot is Ryan Phillippe. Phillippe
does a great job of reminding me why I don't look for movies
with him in them. He is a bore.
Why the fuck is MacGruber?
Man, that's a great philosophical question, up there with pondering
the ideal relation between man and state and why anyone still
buys porno mags. Part of the reason it exists is because Forte
won't ever star in anything else. This is the only vehicle he'll
ever drive to stardom, and he's gonna ride the hell out of this
busted tricycle. The prime reason MacGruber exists is
because there are a shitload of clueless, imagination-free grassfuckers
in Hollywood clinging to any project that sounds like a safe
bet, no matter how shitty. They don't realize Saturday Night
Live is like Oklahoma in the 1930s if comedy were crops.
It's a woman from Chernobyl's ovaries, if comedy were eggs.
The show's been on forever, they figure, it must be doing something
right. Assuming someone else is "doing something right" takes
the responsibility to do that off the grassfuckers' shoulders.
has about five or six genuinely amusing moments. Given their
surroundings, though, those bits seem more like accidents than
planned humor. This is especially true given that none of the
running gags are funny.
The movie also exists
to say "fuck" often enough to get an undeserved "R" rating.
There is one brief bit of nudity, and that is of a septuagenarian's
breasts. That isn't for titillation, just another cheap gag.
MacGruber is probably proud of its "R" and the way it
lures audiences into thinking this is raunchy and hard. What
it really is, though, is a dreadful exercise in the artless
misuse of dirty words. And any dumbass can do that.
is monotonous. The movie operates on the fumes of running gags
that, in most cases, weren't funny to begin with. One is Forte's
repeated offers to "suck your dick", when he finds himself in
a tight spot. This particular joke seems to be some screenwriter's
best idea because they drive it into the ground early, and then
keep it up. MacGruber has a removable car stereo, like people
had in the 80s. He carries it everywhere. This is supposed to
be funny, but as the movie wears on it feels more like an albatross
than a joke.
The movie is shot
like a dried-up turd. I can't think of a single scene that was
visually interesting, but I can remember several examples of
closeups being too close, composition sucking ass and action
being static. It wants to make fun of big action movies, but
it's not competent enough to do it.
sucks. It sucks so hard that after reminiscing here it reminded
me of another rule that supercedes the ones from journalism.
That is, don't fucking bother. Two Fingers.
to tell Filthy Something?