Who's In It: Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Val Kilmer, Ryan Phillippe, Maya Rudolph, Powers Boothe
The Basics: Highly decorated after years of diffusing bombs using readily available household items, ex-Special Ops agent MacGruber (Will Forte) has gone into seclusion following the tragic death of his fiancée (Maya Rudolph) at the hands of his ponytailed megalomaniac nemesis, Dieter von Cunth (Val Kilmer). When Cunth steals a nuclear warhead and threatens mayhem, it's up to MacGruber to stop him by assembling a team of top notch mercenaries. And when that doesn't turn out so well, he enlists the straight laced newbie Lt. Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillippe) and his old teammate Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig) to stop Cunth and save the world. Fasten your mullets and hang on tight for the funniest comedy of the year.
What's The Deal: I know what you're thinking. How can the Saturday Night Live gang have possibly turned a sixty-second sketch built on comical repetition and a willfully moronic protagonist into a watchable feature-length film? Amazingly, co-writers Forte, John Solomon, and Jorma Taccone (who also directed) manage to make it work in a big way -- almost as big and ridiculously silly as MacGruber's signature hairstyle. What we get is a slickly crafted R-rated comedy that pays homage to beefy action pics of the '80s and turns Forte's SNL persona into a (slightly) more fully fleshed out character, one who finally comes to realize, through a series of dangerous situations made even more dangerous by his own cowardice/ineptitude/idiocy, that he might need more than his own bare hands and a paperclip to save the world and the people he loves. But while watching MacGruber's action hero shenanigans are entertaining enough on their own, the movie's raunchy sense of humor makes his feature debut downright legendary. By the time he's making gross 'n' sweaty sex sounds with Kristen Wiig's demure mercenary/lite rock crooner Vicki St. Elmo, MacGruber has humped his way into our hearts. (Okay, maybe just my heart. How can you not love a man who loves his removable Blaupunkt car stereo so much?)
Where It Picks Up/Where We Hope It's Going: With his ticking time bomb days behind him (the movie takes place now, making MacGruber's hair and penchant for flannel and '80s soft rock even more outdated), we find MacGruber a changed man, haunted by the fiery death of his lady love in a wedding altar explosion meant for him. Keep your fingers crossed that Betty White shows up in the sequel to reprise her SNL turn as MacGruber's grandma/love interest.
What You Should Check At The Door: Your snooty inhibitions. Anyone going in expecting MacGruber to take itself seriously will be sorely disappointed. Just go with it as MacGruber hatches terrible plans with his "genius" know-how, most which involve putting Kristen Wiig's Vicki into the line of fire, deliberately blowing his own cover just to sound cool, or getting intimate with a piece of celery. The point is that he's the most inept action hero that ever was, even if he manages to come through with a well-timed throat rip every now and then. Even Ryan Phillippe gets in on the fun in his first ever comedy film with a memorable scene that proves he's unafraid to poke fun at himself. And if that guy can cut loose, so can you.
Not For The Easily Offended: The SNL sketches have already shown us that MacGruber is impatient, racist, alcoholic, and probably every kind of bigoted there is, and the film makes the most of its R-rating in continuing that streak. For example, MacGruber has air-sex with his dead wife's ghost in a cemetery. Later, he ruins a dreamy candlelit love scene (and possibly your own date night) with his excruciating orgasm screeches, which are possibly the worst sounds in the history of mankind. When he discovers that one of his top-shelf mercenary recruits is gay (WWE wrestler The Big Show, who shares a kiss with another man in a cameo), the homophobic MacGruber drops him from the team. Later, an abortion joke explains a lot about his long-standing feud with Val Kilmer's Von Cunth. Trust me, it's all hilarious.
The Real Unsung Hero: Kristen Wiig. Her Vicki St. Elmo, a former special agent who still carries a torch for MacGruber and composes Karen Carpenter-like love songs to him in her spare time, is a work of understated brilliance.