If there’s a sober and devastating caveat to be rubber-stamped (dramatically and with echo by curiously stern teenage box-office employees) upon just-purchased tickets for MacGruber (and there isn’t, really), it’s that the film and its open discussion may imperil — if not torpedo outright — nearly as many teetering friendships and/or nascent romantic prospects as it will perhaps inevitably kindle.
’Cause, I mean, everybody’s got ’em, right? Wet Hot American Summer, Kung-Pow: Enter the Fist, Last Action Hero, I (Heart) Huckabees, Rushmore, Hot Fuzz, Army of Darkness, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom — those polarizing, put-up-or-shut-up movies that, when broached in polite conversation, perk ears and narrow eyes, and more-or-less instantly let you know whom you’re talking to and how far you’re interested in taking this relationship. (When broached in impolite conversation, naturally, they let you know whom to fight.)
Not that folks are necessarily going to come to blows over MacGruber. I saw it for a second time last evening (as of this writing), following a packed screening (of a slightly different version) at South By Southwest, and cried laughing. I think it’s hilarious. My wife does, too. I’m going to tell my 23-year-old brother, who loved Hot Rod and periodically comes over to watch Saturday Night Live, to see it immediately. He’ll love it, too. My parents, though? I dunno. Mom, Dad: If you’re reading, maybe skip this one. A guy puts celery in his butt and talks about his face being a vagina.
No, I don’t want to fight my parents. Or the portion of my friends and/or coworkers who may feel cloyed by the picture’s dedicated surfeit of silliness. Or you, if you haven’t yet warmed to Forte, or to the idea of same as an inept and kinda a-hole-ish MacGyver, or (however inexplicably) to Taccone and the Lonely Island crew (do yourself a favor: thelonelyisland.com) that paved the way for MacGruber, and for SNL’s Digital Shorts-powered resurgence. I love all you guys (and have summarily throttled my thesis). I’ll understand if you don’t dig it. If, however, you’re interested in surehanded, razor-sharp, absurdist comedy, giddy turns by Kilmer and Philippe (!), and the most forehead-slappingly overdue, spot-on, jeans-peeingly brilliant lampooning of the Hollywood sex scene ever, well, you don’t have to go building it all out of toothpicks and chicken wire.