MACGRUBER (15, 98 mins) Comedy/Action. Starring Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Phillippe, Val Kilmer, Powers Boothe and Maya Rudolph. Director: Jorma Taccone.
FOR almost 35 years, the late night American television show Saturday Night Live has been mercilessly lampooning Democrat and Republican politics and popular culture.
Apart from a reputation as a finely tuned barometer of public taste, SNL has also been a fertile breeding ground for character comedians and their hilarious alter egos.
Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi first strutted their stuff as The Blues Brothers on the small screen, two years before John Landis’s cult 1980 film, and Dana Carvey and Mike Myers were most excellent in their Wayne’s World guises.
Even Tim Robbins’s folk singer turned political hopeful Bob Roberts came to fruition on the show before he ran for office on the big screen.
However, some of SNL’s characters haven’t translated well to widescreen: The Coneheads was an unmitigated disaster and more recently, A Night At The Roxbury and The Ladies Man misplaced the gags and punchlines.
MacGruber can be added to the list of failures.
Based on a character created by actor Will Forte, MacGruber is a comedy about a hapless former soldier who is dragged out of retirement to save the world from his arch nemesis.
On SNL, the eponymous action man has an uncanny knack of getting himself blown up.
Here, he accidentally detonates some homemade explosives, killing an elite team of hardened soldiers and has to go into battle flanked by untested recruits.
It’s a recipe for disaster and MacGruber serves up the misery in large, unappetizing portions.
MacGruber (Forte) has never recovered from the murder of his wife (Rudolph) at the hands of the dastardly villain, Dieter Von Cunth (Kilmer).
The former soldier of fortune seeks sanctuary in a South American monastery where Colonel James Faith (Boothe) and eager subordinate Lieutenant Dixon Piper (Phillippe) track him down.
They implore MacGruber to re-enter active service and thwart Von Cunth, who has stolen a nuclear warhead.
MacGruber cobbles together a team and attempts to prevent Armageddon.
HAPLESS ACTION MAN: Will Forte as MacGruber.