20 September 2010 | brando647
First Good SNL Film in Almost 20 Years
Movies based on Saturday Night Live sketches have a rough history with very few of them being anything but awful. The last good SNL film was almost 20 years ago with WAYNE'S WORLD and it's sequel in 1992/1993. I have been a fan of the show for a while but I understand how hard it can be to stretch an idea from 3 minutes to 90 or more. I'm glad Will Forte and director Jorma Taccone have come along to revive the hope for decent comedies based on SNL material. Based on Forte's sketch, MacGruber is an American war hero and MacGyver parody known for failing to disarm bombs in the nick of time. Here, he is brought out of retirement to bring down his arch-nemesis, Dieter Von Cunth. Von Cunth is the man who murdered MacGruber's bride on their wedding day and he's just stolen a nuclear warhead.
I hadn't seen much of the original sketches until a friend of mine heard about the MACGRUBER movie and sat me down to watch the sketches on YouTube. Frankly, I wasn't all that impressed with the sketches. Each one felt the exact same and it got less and less funny with each one I watched. I didn't hold out much hope for the film but I gave it a chance after seeing some positive reviews. I am so glad my initial expectations were wrong. This movie was funny and it got more hilarious each time I watched it. A lot of the humor in the film is downright juvenile ("Time to go pound some Cunth") but it works. MacGruber (Will Forte) is completely deadpan with his delivery and truly believes he is a genius hero while those around him, friend Vicki St. Elmo (Kristin Wiig) and Lieutenant Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillipe), are just as vexed as the audience as to MacGruber's insane methods.
The movie reeks of old school 80's action films and does a decent job of balancing the oddball humor with decent action sequences. Granted there's nothing too over-the-top about the action in the movie, limited to your basic gunfights. This movie is a comedy first and foremost. From the little bit I'd seen of Will Forte previously, I was never a fan but MacGruber seems to be the character he was born to play. His wannabe machismo, overconfidence in his eccentric methods, and dedication to his Blaupunkt car stereo are hilarious and his love scenes are some of the funniest I've ever seen. I love Kristin Wiig's quiet awkwardness that she brings to her characters and Ryan Phillipe did a goo job as the film's straight man, the voice of reason against MacGruber's idiocy. Val Kilmer must have had a great time playing baddie Von Cunth because he's hamming it up in every scene. Kilmer was probably my favorite part of the film and I'd love to see him do some more comedies.
I can only urge people to give the film a chance. I know the negative stigma associated with SNL movies but I'm hoping this film is more than a fluke and that we can expect some more decent films from their label. Another friend of mine fought against seeing the film but when I finally got him to sit down and watch it, his mind had changed and now we're constantly quoting it. Don't misconstrue my positive remarks as complete love for the film, as it still has it's flaws, but it's still a fun time and deserves credit for that.