Combustible Celluloid
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With: Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Phillippe, Val Kilmer, Powers Boothe, Maya Rudolph, Rhys Coiro, Andy Mackenzie, Jasper Cole, Timothy V. Murphy, Kevin Skousen
Written by: Will Forte, John Solomon, Jorma Taccone
Directed by: Jorma Taccone
MPAA Rating: R for strong crude and sexual content, violence, language and some nudity
Running Time: 99
Date: 03/15/2010

MacGruber (2010)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Bomb Clod

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

On "Saturday Night Live," MacGruber usually gets less than 2 minutes to diffuse a bomb, but is distracted at the last second, and everyone is blown to smithereens. Despite the repeated formula, those sketches at least attempt to parody action movies and TV shows from 1980s and 1990s. The new MacGruber movie isn't smart enough or focused enough to qualify as a parody. Instead, it merely tries to keep the audience constantly off-balance with increasing amounts of shock humor, including some disgusting violence and two off-putting sex scenes.

The villainous businessman Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer) steals a nuclear warhead and plans to fire it at Washington DC. The Pentagon contacts the one man who can stop him, the decorated veteran soldier MacGruber (Will Forte), who wears a mullet and relies on reckless gut instinct rather than careful planning. Along with his teammates Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig) and Lt. Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillippe), he charges into one situation after another, trying to snatch the secret codes for the warhead, and then to find the warhead itself. Will he be too late? And worse, will Vicki make MacGruber forget about his vow of celibacy?

It's vaguely interesting to watch as the movie tries to top itself, but genuine laughs are few and far between. Perhaps worse is that MacGruber is a supremely self-centered character, and so talented supporters Kilmer, Wiig and Phillippe are more or less wasted, and are often left gaping in disbelief. Director Jorma Taccone occasionally passes -- and pads -- the time with some glaringly cheesy 1980s power pop.

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