Starring Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, and Val Kilmer. Rated 14A. Opens Friday, May 21, at the Cinemark Tinseltown
Ninety minutes of The Simpsons’ Bouvier sisters grunting over Richard Dean Anderson would have been a far better use of time than this misguided MacGyver spoof, which relies on shock value and bad-TV nostalgia for what little fizz it has.
Watch the trailer for MacGruber.
Spinning off from an exceptionally weak Saturday Night Live sketch, MacGruber does at least benefit from not relying on the bit’s running gag, which had the (really) fictional fellow blowing up countless friends and colleagues while long-windedly talking about his life when he is supposed to be defusing bombs using nothing more than dental floss and a Junior Mint.
Here, the talkative secret agent is again played by Will Forte, who also helped write this belaboured effort in which the most dangerous, and certainly most ubiquitous, explosive is the F-bomb. Okay, there is a nuclear warhead aimed at Washington, D.C. But that’s just a reason for a Richard Crenna–like army colonel (Powers Boothe, not lookin’ too good) to give the one-named MacGruber a back story of government service and then to call him back into action.
A puffed-out Val Kilmer plays the ponytailed bad guy, and it’s a telling measure of the film’s humour that he’s called Dieter Von Cunth. The kids get hours of fun from that one, and by kids I mean Ryan Phillippe, totally thrown away as a by-the-book lieutenant, and cast standout Kristen Wiig as agent-turned-musician (and “talented lyricist”, our hero adds) Vicki St. Elmo. She’s all fired up to join Mullet Mac’s new team, but not because she believes in his nonexistent strategies. She’s into him, but the guy is more interested in protecting the car stereo in his Mazda Miata.
Yes, I laughed at that, but the endless dick-sucking jokes took the fun out of everything else. And I know what Selma and Patty would say about that.