One of the biggest comedic influences in my life has been Saturday Night Live. I recall watching back in the early 90’s, and not getting most of the jokes, but I knew this was a show that would be important in my life. So I continued to watch through the years and eventually I starting getting the jokes. I found that my recent movie watching habits all stem from this SNL influence. In the last week I watched four movies that were new to me and three of those stared SNL cast members (the other was Sherlock Holmes). However, despite the SNL connection, I noticed these movies varied drastically in their overall quality and in their comedic quality, that’s a real thing, I swear.
I love Wayne’s World and Wayne’s World 2, I based an entire trip to San Francisco around So I Married an Axe Murderer, suffice to say I am, or at least was, a big fan of Mike Myers. Then I made the mistake of watching The Love Guru. Every fiber in my being told me this was not something to waste my time with; also there were all those other suckers who warned me not to watch it. Despite these warnings and gut feelings, I still turned this movie on, mostly hoping to get a nap in, but the movie was so offensively bad that I was unable to properly reach a state of sleep for fear of what the movie would do to me should I take my eyes off it.
So I sat there, staring at the screen hoping for something good to happen (eventually it did when the closing credits started to roll). But all I got was Mike Myers with an obnoxious Indian accent. I guess after 7 movies with a Scottish accent it was time to try something new. God forbid he does a role in his regular English (with a hint of Canadian) voice. Myers having this Indian accent was only slightly more necessary than the dude in Short Circuit having an Indian accent (only slightly). Seriously, that dude in Short Circuit speaks perfect English but used an accent in the movie for no clear reason.
While this stupid accent was overly annoying it was not the worst part of the movie. No, that honor goes to sophomoric dick jokes. I enjoy dick jokes just fine, when they are clever. But these felt like they were going to be used in Austin Powers but someone talked Myers out of using them, but that person is no longer around so it’s time for these jokes to make their way on film. And after each one of these supposed jokes Myers will look to the camera as if to ask if we got it. We meet the PG-13 age requirement so yeah we get it.
And there was this flashback scene with Myers character as a preteen. Normally there wouldn’t be a problem with such a scene, but for some reason someone felt it was a good idea to use technology to make Myers’ face look younger and superimposed it onto this kid. There was no reason for this visual effect other than to create a new monster to haunt my nightmares.
Now this movie wasn’t all bad. Justin Timberlake plays a French Canadian hockey goalie with an apparently massive cock and a love of Celine Dion. Anyone who has seen JT on SNL knows he can bring the comedy and he does that here. Then there is Jim Gaffigan and Steven Colbert as the hockey announce team. Also Jessica Alba is in the movie and that is all sorts of alright.
With each new Mike Myers movie I find myself losing the admiration I once had for him, and the minor roles he shows up in, such as that in Inglourious Basterds, cannot salvage the respect lost from the monstrosity that was The Love Guru.
Around the early part of this century we were lucky enough to have gotten a slew of movies based on SNL reoccurring sketches. We got Night at the Roxbury, Superstar and The Ladies Man, all of which were mediocre at best and very forgettable. So when talk of a MacGruber movie surfaced I was very skeptical and hesitant. After all this was a one note sketch. MacGruber trapped in a room with one or two other people and a bomb, witty banter, bomb explodes. That was the gist of every MacGruber sketch, how could that be stretched into a feature length film?
As implied above I am fairly retarded and will eventually watch any movie. So when I stumbled upon MacGruber on Netflix I went ahead and rented it.
The movie started out with a more serious tone than I anticipated, it was setting up the action movie aspect that the movie would essentially mock. Then MacGruber showed up and brought the comedy I was expecting.
While the movie did consist of a bunch of stupid jokes and dumb comedy, it was able to stretch beyond that. The first thing that helped was the R rating. This kept Will Forte and the other writings from having to hold back. I’m not saying vulgar, blue language is key to making a good movie, but I always have a hard time when I watch an action movie and the bad asses stifle their language. I’ve never been in the types of situations depicted in these movies, but I know even in situations of minor stress I tend to let the expletives fly so I expect to hear such language from action stars.
This also helped in the next step which also made the movie better. MacGruber was expanded as a character. From the sketches we got very little of who MacGruber was, so in order for this movie to work at all we had be given more of who MacGruber is. This one dimensional character was fleshed out, we were given a reason to care about him. This was where the smart money was on how this movie would end up totally fucked but they beat the odds.
This may just be my opinion, but I think Will Forte is a really funny guy. He has some good comic timing and a real sense of what is funny. He uses these skills in this movie to keep the audience from knowing exactly what joke is coming. It’s the opposite of what Myers does in The Love Guru.
This movie was also not hurt when MacGruber starts to put a team together and he recruits pro wrestlers Big Show, MVP, Glenn Jacobs, and CJS personal favorite Chris Jericho. Any movie is automatically better when you put Jericho in it and exploit other wrestlers as the meatheads they are.
Then there are the sex scenes. Some of the funniest sex scenes I have seen since Team America: World Police. Again something that R rating made possible.
MacGruber was better than I imagined. I never heard any negative reviews on it, but then again I never heard any positive ones either. But now I give it the Lee S. Hart recommendation to at least give it a chance.
After watching the depressing as shit Funny People I was ready to give up on Adam Sandler, but I really couldn’t. He’s like that one friend I knew in middle school who I really want to stay in touch with. I don’t always approve of what he’s doing, but we had such good times that I can’t just adios. Also this movie has Chris Rock and Kevin James and they amuse me (also the girlfriend gave it high praise) so I took a chance.
The comedy is fairly decent, the story is predictable, but I really enjoyed this movie. And what I think it is, is how I can relate and identify with these characters. These five friends get back together after years apart and they fall back into their old ways. I can see myself doing this with Dagger and Limon and a couple of the CJS regulars and it makes me happy. One of my favorite things is hanging out with these people and just rehashing the past awesomeness we all shared. I just hope in ten years we can hang out like that and not miss a beat.
The plot of this movie is really thin and I feel like that happened on purpose. I get the idea that Sandler was like I’m going to do this movie with my friends, here’s a basic plot, but mainly we’ll just be hanging out and making jokes.
I started watching some of the extra features on this disc and never in my life have I wanted to be in a movie more than this one (ok maybe when I was 15 there were a few movies I would have wanted to be a part of). There is one point when I realized these guys are getting paid well to hang out with their friends at a water park. How incredible would that be? How was work today? Rough, I had to go to the water park with my best friends.
That sounds like the life, and you know that as soon as CJS goes big we’ll be doing that.
But for now it’s Holiday hours at CJS. That means for the next three weeks will only have one article a week. These articles will up for you first thing Wednesday morning and they will be our traditional holiday season articles. So keep an eye out for those (Wednesdays) and be sure to check out the CJS store at Zazzle.com for all your holiday shopping.
See ya at the mailbox…
10 Dec 2010 Lee S. Hart