Directed by Jorma Taccone
Starring Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Phillipe, Val Kilmer, Powers Boothe and a bunch of big time wrestlers
Written by Taccone, Forte, John Solomon
If time on earth has tought me one thing, it’s that, if you have moderate success with a skit on SNL, you stand a good chance of seeing that skit stretched out to a ridiculous enough to test if you really like the character, or, in the case of The Coneheads, if you like life at all. MacGruber was a curious choice for parody, as it was making a fun of a show that had been mocked most successfully with Patty and Selma in 1990 on The Simpsons. If they really wanted to go for it, they should have taken on Barnaby Jones. Amazingly, someone thought enough of the premise to allow a script to move forward into a film. Wiig, whose star is on the rise, is my guess for the reason. She’s certainly the reason I finally picked it up.
What can be said about this film, other than they worked really hard to make it seem as stupid as possible. There is an insufferable consistency to their machinations. One can tell from the moment he gets his first big time wrestler to join in his quest that:
- There will be more
- One will be gay
- All who join will die before they lift a finger
Still, Forte’s reaction to the event that undoes them is so earnest, I smiled a bit. Even if I did not laugh. Then there is the moment that Wiig and Forte finally get “together.” Cue “Broken Wings,” cut to most obscene moment, leave, onto the burial spot of his wife, and repeat.
At the end of that scene, he sees a car, or rather a license plate that he has been obsessed with for half the movie, and while crucial “plot” points are discussed, he completely destroys the car. Dedication.
Val Kilmer. How does the guy keep doing it? When he made Tombstone, the guy was on top of the world. Since then, he’s been in more movies than anyone except, maybe, Samuel L. Jackson. I can’t say his career has hit the skids. He is in a moderately successful movie every year or two. In between those, he is in 4 or 5 direct to video junkers. Why? I really just think he likes to work. As Dieter Von Cunth (don’t try to pronounce), he pretty much just plays himself.
As for Ryan Phillippe, this movie is a natural extension of the way his career is going at this point. His trajectory, post Crash, has been not so hot. For those of you who think otherwise, quickly name 3 movies he’s been in (not including this one) since then. I got stuck at Flags of Our Fathers, too.
Wiig is boxed into a corner here. She kind of has to be what she was on Saturday Night Live, without being able to show any of the range that she has in her more accomplished work, such as Whip It! Watching her is like seeing an Eagle with its wings clipped. The movie just happens to her.
Forte, bless him, makes the most of his opportunity. To his credit, he’s not nearly as bad as Rob Schneider or David Spade. He should have a successful career playing bit parts in other, more successful SNL alums. Like Kristen Wiig.
(*1/2 out of *****)