Friday, March 21, 2014

So... MacGruber

I haven't been writing here lately because I've been busy with other things and I haven't seen many movies lately.

Except just the other day I watched MacGruber, the film version of the SNL sketch about a MacGyver parody. It tanked at the theaters, but has since grown in reputation as a film for film- and comedy-nerds.

But I'm not entirely sure why. There are many things to like about the film, starting with its po-faced seriousness: the opening 15 minutes or so really have no out-and-out jokes, but could seem like any action-hero opening, with the bad guy stealing the weapon and the salty old mentor finding the hot-shot who dropped out of the game. In fact, depending on your temperament, you might not find any jokes at all in the opening.

Which is a funny thing to say about a film that is an extended MacGyver parody in parts and includes the hero using and re-using the line about the villain Von Cunth that he's "going to go pound some Cunth." That is, while the film is really out-there sometimes--explosions are accompanied by jaguar sounds--it's also really subtle in other parts.

They have a lot of fun playing with the action hero tropes, some of which are really fun and demented, from MacGruber always dressing up his allies as him to use them as bait, to the obligatory soft-core sex scene, which starts out in traditional sentimental form and then transitions into two people being sweaty at each other. But it's all so strange, that I can see why people didn't like it; and a lot of it is so straight-forward that I can see why some people thought it was boring or disjointed.

So let me revise: I can see why some people think this film is better than it was received as; but I can also see why it failed at the box office.

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