I had to cleanse my palate of the "Lost" finale last week, so I went to see "MacGruber." I have something shocking to tell you, so please don't be too upset: It wasn't very good.
It could have worked -- it's not that, as some critics have said, the idea of translating the "SNL" sketch into a movie was doomed from the start -- but there just aren't enough laughs.
The movie starts off as a straight parody -- too straight, in fact -- as former CIA agent MacGruber is lured out of retirement to try to foil a terrorist plot. Eventually, the jokes emerge. Here (minus a word or two, perhaps) is a representative snippet of dialogue, as MacGruber recruits a former colleague for his new team:
Recruit: "You and your d*$@ jokes."
MacGruber: "I love to say them."
Recruit: "I love to hear them."
MacGruber: "That's why I say them."
Recruit: "That's why I listen."
Part of the problem with "MacGruber" is that the character is incoherent and all over the map. In the sketch, MacGruber was a hapless loser. In the movie, he's part hapless loser, part badass, and you're not sure from scene to scene which Grubes you're going to get.
There are a handful of good chuckles, such as when MacGruber asks for a partner's gun during a shootout so he can stir a supposedly explosive mixture he's concocting, and there are a few big laughs too. The best parts are a scene in which MacGruber reveals some of his romantic history over beers with the character played by Ryan Phillipe and a sex scene that is even cruder and funnier than the puppet sex in "Team America."
I can't in good conscience suggest anyone see this in the theater, but if you like Forte's twisted humor and/or the MacGruber sketches, it would be worth a DVD rental.