MacGruber is not The Ladies Man, but its also not Wayne’s World. As a film, it works a lot better than I was expecting, and director Jorma Taccone (one of The Lonely Island guys) brings a very 1980s action film feel to the whole thing. He talked about Lethal Weapon and Die Hard as being influences, but the movie reminded more more of the ridiculous Schwarzennagger film Commando. Either way it definitely treads the line between homage and parody (not unlike Hot Fuzz), although, as you might expect from an SNL movie, the whole thing felt a little thin. More a long string of bits than a film, MacGruber expands one of SNL’s shortest sketches to feature length and its not hard to feel the strain of trying to turn a 30 second joke into a 90 minute film (especially given the relatively limited timeframe they had to make this movie). When the jokes work (like the two hilarious sex scenes or a small moment of subtitle fun), they tend to be playful nods and swipes at the storytelling conventions of those ridiculous action movies. But there’s too much filler, and long stretches where there’s just not very much going on. The cast is all strong, especially Will Forte, who shows that he has the charisma to carry a film like this. Kristen Wiig is very funny and subtle, and Val Kilmer is Val Kilmer (though not as gloriously so as in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang). In the end, MacGruber is a relatively entertaining timewaster, but its a too uneven and disposable to have legs as a comedy classic (although it did play very well at the Paramount, so maybe I’m just being harsh).
I wanted to go to the Mohawk to see Califone last night too, but it started raining pretty hard (its not a music festival in Austin without a little rain) and MacGruber got out later than it was supposed to, so I decided to bail. That’s going to just about do it for our coverage of the film festival. I may try to see No Crossover or Parking Lot Movie, but from here on out I’m switching my focus to the music and party side of things.