He Puts American Flags in His Bombs

Movie Title: MacGruber (2010)
Spoilers: none

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Get ready for a man so American that he puts American flags inside the bombs he makes. Everyone will call him a moron soon enough, but you'll call him MacGruber first. It's the only name by which he is known at any time in the film. He has no other names and he's like a military celebrity, but more cerebrally challenged. Even his enemies at first suppose him to be mentally handicapped and dismiss him as a possible threat. That’s an advantage even he can’t blow.

As MacGruber, former SNL cast member Will Forte steps into a role he was meant to play. MacGruber is a war hero gone into hiding, having allowed the world to think he is dead. This was brought on by the death of his to-be wife, Casey (Maya Rudolph). Her sister, Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig) was part of his old team and the only member who doesn't get blown to bits by 75 pounds of C4, incompetently rigged by MacGruber himself.

Rambo-ishly, MacGruber is visited by Colonel James Faith (Powers Boothe), a plain-spoken, fine American--the kind he played as over-the-top, cowboy Vice President Noah Daniels on 24. Thanks to Col. Faith, MacGruber is talked back into action and hooks up with a young and actually smart, Lt. Dixon Piper (Ryan Philippe). With Vicki St. Elmo, the team of three find themselves against MacGruber's old archenemy, Dieter von Cunth (played by a heavier and European-ized Val Kilmer) who plans to reduce Washington D.C. with a nuke.

For MacGruber, it's an opportunity for revenge. Cunth is a painting, art-minded villain set on destroying D.C. His minions tend to everything he needs done. He hosts suit-and-tie events, but is willing to throw unwanted guests out of parties through windows like on Master Ninja.

MacGruber may not be much for strategy (he's on level with Peter Griffin in that regard). But he can yell and curse and make a scene with un-toppable sarcasm. When the occasion calls for it, he dances around nude with celery in his ass (he does so to distract the bad guys). And he curses up a storm at funerals before grieving audiences. Some of his more witty lines are: "Never ever say never ever."

He knows how to use martial arts to rip the throats out of his opponents in a fight, but that's all he knows how to do. The rest of the time, he's getting tossed out of windows like lounge lizards against a Terminator. But MacGruber has intuition and medals of honor from the president to go with it - probably just because he has naked pictures of him - but he still has the metals.

No, this guy isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, but like the movie, the character is damn funny. MacGruber is a slam against slow-motion screams and other 1980s filming styles. Everything from American Ninja to James Bond villains are borrowed for fun in this long-running SNL skit.

MacGruber is a lady's man with a high libido. Saturday Night Live Director Jorma Taccone has been directing SNLs since 2003, and in his directorial movie debut, has taken the liberty of showing us just how very vocal MacGruber is in bed, as he sounds like a perfectly ordinary subway pervert getting his jollies atop an already stiff corpse hidden under some crumpled newspapers. When sobbing and in need of something from you, MacGruber has the disturbing tendency to offer to bone anything you want.

MacGruber is 90 minutes of put-down comedy--the lead character himself being the brunt of most of that. It is relieving to know that beneath the silly humor of incompetence, ass celery stunts, and outrageous characterizations is the fact that society is full of talked-up stupids who should never have made it as far as they did. MacGruber being the prime example, he is the spirit of socially maladjusted mental-cases, of simplistic patriots and department store-working junkies with drops of ineptness practically rolling off their long, thick heads of hair.

MacGruber, as a film, is like any friend of a friend: some will love him and others will hate him. Some will find him offensive, tastelessly nasty, and/or just plain stupid. Others still will just dismiss him as simply insane, putting him in that rather broad category known as "not for everyone." But to others, he is, of all things, undeniably funny, a jaw-dropping companion to spend time with while winding down. Won't you join me?

(JH)

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Grade: A- (4 stars) Recommended!
Rated: R (for strong and crude sexual content, violence, language, and some nudity)
Director: Jorma Taccone
Summary: Ex-special operative MacGruber is called back into action to take down his archenemy, Dieter Von Cunth, who is in possession of a nuclear warhead.
Starring: Will Forte "MacGruber," Kristen Wiig "Vicki St. Elmo," Ryan Phillippe "Lt. Dixon Piper," Val Kilmer "Dieter Von Cunth," Powers Boothe "Col. James Faith," Maya Rudolph "Casey," Chris Jericho "Frank Korver," Mark Henry "Tut Beemer"
Genre: Action / Comedy
Trailer

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