Movies based on Saturday Night Live sketches are infamous for bombing at box offices. Maybe MacGruber (R) can defuse that notion with a gum wrapper and bobby pin.
Don't count on it. The punch line for Will Forte's spoof of 1980's action hero MacGyver is that the bomb always blows up in his face. With Iron Man 2, Robin Hood and now Shrek Forever After packing theaters, SNL mastermind Lorne Michaels can expect to be collateral damage in theaters once again. On television, Forte's take on MacGyver works fairly well in two-minute doses, depending on the guest host shoved into the sketch. (Yes, Betty White was the best ever.)
It will take better creative expansion than A Night at the Roxbury or It's Pat received to make MacGruber worth sitting through for 99 minutes.
Forte plays the title role, a former special ops agent renowned for saving the day with scraps of junk turned into weapons and ways out of jams. The mulleted MacGruber is called back to duty when his archenemy (Val Kilmer, with a character name unsuitable for print) steals a nuclear warhead to destroy Washington, D.C. SNL cast mate Kristen Wiig co-stars as MacGruber's frustrated assistant.
The R-rating may help a bit, allowing dirty jokes that aren't ready for even late-night television.
MacGruber wasn't screened in time for Weekend but a review will be published Saturday on tampabay.com and Etc, Page 2B.