Storytelling

The Trouble with MacGruber

I went to see “MacGruber”, the recent movie that spoofs the 80s icon TV show “MacGyver”, and hated it.  It was deeply flawed.  It was almost to the point of my wanting to gouge my eyes out, but not quite that bad.  I did walk out because I didn’t give a rat’s ass how it ended.  I have never done that before (by the way, gouging my eyes out is a one-time-only act, and I haven’t done that either).

“MacGruber”, if you’re not familiar, is based on the Saturday Night Live skit of the same name.  In those three minute segments, the concept is very funny.  The versions I’ve seen have MacGruber working on a MacGyver-ish solution to his pesky situation, and he keeps getting interrupted or distracted from his task and things don’t work out so well.  It’s cute and funny.  The one with Betty White playing his nana was very funny because it brought private, embarrassing details into it which are always funny, but then they had a relationship and it got creepy.  I should have taken heed.

The biggest challenge is that MacGruber is not sympathetic.  He is an egomaniacal jerk who kills his own men.  The only other joke built into that sequence was a homophobic gag that was okay, but if the only reason you’re going to show two men kissing is to make fun of them for being gay, then I’d rather you didn’t bother showing them.  We don’t make fun of blacks because they are black, or Jews because they are Jews, and the same goes for gays and lesbians.  The exception to that rule is that it is now okay to make fun of bankers just because they are bankers, whether they made obscene profits selling bizarre financial instruments, or lost billions buying bizarre financial instruments.

MacGruber, it turns out, is also a little crazy, and also stole his friend’s girlfriend, turning his friend evil, and is simply not very good at being a soldier.  I’m not sure what his appeal is.  It was just a character I care nothing about.

On top of all that, they made prominent sex scenes that were not funny, just sad.  Sad and unfunny sex I know, and that’s what I saw on the screen.  I want to see people having fun when I watch sex in a movie.  If I want to see bad sex, I look in the mirror.

I am saddest of all because it was such a poor use of the SNL brand.  They can be so very funny.  MacGruber, however, was not.