MacGruber ★★

A few years ago, the "MacGruber" sketches on Saturday Night Live perfectly illustrated the flaws on NBC's long-running late night comedy show. What more could demonstrate SNL's lack of creative inspiration than a one-joke parody of "MacGyver", an already corny TV show more than a decade old? But recently, the SNL "MacGruber" sketches have shown signs of genuine inspiration. Segments where MacGruber is trying to survive in the poor economy or dealing with his inner racist went beyond the mere "incompetent version of MacGyver" that was the foundation of the recurring skit, and gave hope that the idea of expanding MacGruber's universe beyond the single control room would stimulate the writers of the movie version to even greater heights of absurdity. Unfortunately MACGRUBER is weak on the satire and short on comedic innovation. The main joke for the first third of the film seems to be repeating the villain's ridiculously obscene name again and again. As an actor, Will Forte has the same deadpan detachment that has served other SNL vets like Chevy Chase and Will Ferrell well, but the movie doesn't seem to understand what kind of character MacGruber should be. More annoying than appealing, most of the other people treat MacGruber as a great hero, but he's clearly unable to do much beyond killing folks. Kristen Wiig has precious little to do, and what she does doesn't play to her unique performing skills. The action scenes are not well shot, and the special effects are cheap looking. That could be forgiven if the film were funnier, but unfortunately it's not. On the plus side, it was nice to see Val Kilmer return to the comedy genre after a long hiatus. Hopefully he will find a better vehicle the next time around.