GENRE: Shoot-em up spoof
THE PITCH: Saturday Night Lives MacGuyver-esque man of action explodes onto the big screen when oily arms dealer Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer) steals a Russian nuclear war-head, bringing MacGruber (Will Forte) out of retirement to nab him. But can agents Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillippe) and Vickie St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig) rescue MacGruber from his own posturing idiocy?
MONEY SHOTS: MacGruber assembles a team of butch operatives, only to accidentally put them all out of commission. Vickie nervously masquerades as MacGruber to bait a trap. Piper discovers that MacGrubers notebook reveals his disturbing/hilarious obsession. A terrified MacGruber uses Piper as a human shield.
BEST LINES: If rippin throats gets that warhead, then Ill suck as many dicks I mean, rip as many throats as I have to, MacGruber tells Piper. Also, the use of the name Cunth isnt exactly sophisticated humor, but it gets persistent laughs.
WORST LINES: AAAAAAHHH! When in doubt, the script predictably gives MacGruber primal screams a la Will Ferrell.
FASHION STATEMENT: MacGrubers outfit of choice includes khaki vest, plaid shirt, jeans and, while driving his convertible, Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses with those leather side blinders. Wiig emulates Farrah Fawcetts feathered blonde hairdo from Charlies Angels. MacGruber crashes Cunths fancy party in a cream colored suit. Kilmer rocks one of those bad-guy ponytails.
BODY COUNT: Theyre not kidding about the ripped throats. The film features at least 30 shootings, dead bodies and other violent fatalities, which is a sky-high level of bloodshed for any comedy this side of Kick-Ass.
FLESH FACTOR: Brace yourself for many, many glimpses of Fortes backside, both through his embarrassing sex acts and his favorite distraction, which involves a celery stalk. Despite emulating so many action-film clichés, MacGruber includes no hooker or strip club scenes, although at one point Cunth paints an elderly topless lady.
SOUNDTRACK HIGHLIGHTS: MacGruber plays against his macho swagger by listening to incongruous light rock from the likes of Toto, Mr. Mister and Michael Bolton. Forte and Wiig duet on the 80s-style rocker, Rock My Body.
CAMEOS: At least five WWE wrestlers, including The Great Khali, Kane and MVP. The film otherwise provides virtually no walk-ons from Saturday Night Live actors or celebrities playing themselves, and is by far the better for it
SPIN-OFF OR SPINOUT? Like Waynes World pretty much the only other good Saturday Night Live big-screen spin-off, depending on your feelings about The Blues Brothers MacGruber looks and feels like a real movie, and not an overinflated sketch.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Director Jorma Taccone (one of The Lonely Island boys) helms a nearly pitch-perfect parody of 24 and Stallone-era action clichés. Phillipe may actually be the films secret weapon, providing a terrific straight man and foil to Fortes moronic machismo. Violent, silly and occasionally embarrassing to watch, MacGrubers arsenal of dumb jokes seldom shoots blanks and may be this generations equivalent to Airplane! -- Holman
MACGRUBER. 3 stars. Directed by Jorma Taccone. Stars Will Forte, Kristen Wiig. Rated R. Opens Fri., May 21. At area theaters.
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