HomeTelevisionMacGruber Review: A Hilarious Return for Will Forte's Beloved Character

MacGruber Review: A Hilarious Return for Will Forte’s Beloved Character

Photo Credit: John Golden Britt/Peacock

What did the hunting knife say to your head? Just passing through!

The brand new Peacock series finds All-American action-star MacGruber, played by Will Forte, drawn back into war times facing an old foe, Enos Queeth (Billy Zane, Titanic) hellbent on global destruction.

Almost 15 years since his debut in a sketch on Saturday Night Live, comedian Will Forte, along with the help of writer/directors Jorma Taccone and John Soloman, has once again painstakingly fought the odds to revive MacGruber for audiences. This comes 11 years after the feature film failed hard at the box office, although slowly generating interest and becoming a cult classic since then.

The basic premise revolves around a legendary soldier named MacGruber, an unapologetic foul-mouthed one-man army who recklessly defends his country against madmen all while finding new ways of ripping throats and thwarting evil plans. The concept of MacGruber heavily spoofs the infamous character MacGyver, a man that can survive solely on his ingenuity and wits.

This new series picks up with our titular hero serving time in prison, convicted for the murder of his arch-nemesis, Dieter Von Cunth from MacGruber (2010). He has left his patriot life behind as well as his soulmate Vicki St. Elmo (Kristin Wiig, Bridesmaids). He has now been reduced to fighting inmates in the prison yard over rubber balls he puts in his butt. Yes, that’s an actual sentence you just read. Times are grim for MacGruber, that is until General Fasoose (Laurence Fishburne, The Matrix) has an offer for our hero, a suicide mission involving the President’s kidnapped daughter.

It isn’t an easy decision, especially since Fasoose is now married to Vicki, but MacGruber agrees to the mission. Events from the first episode unfold that unveil the mastermind behind this operation being none other than Enos Queeth, the man MacGruber believes murdered his mother, right in front of him on his birthday. We are constantly given reminders of MacGruber’s mother being blown away and ruining his cake with blood spatter. MacGruber vows to destroy Queeth, enrolling the help of his old team, none other than Vicki and Dixon “Checkers” Piper (Ryan Phillippe, Crash).

MacGruber is that type of comedy where you either find people who love it or absolutely detest it to its core. Yours truly enjoyed the sketches when they aired on SNL, where each segment depicted Mac trying to save the day, but ultimately finding new ways to blow himself up attempting to disarm a bomb. I was completely blown away from the 2010 film, to the point where friends and I would regularly quote any of his hundreds of coined classics on a daily basis, “MacGrubie don’t play like homie, and homie don’t play like that.”

When a series was announced by Peacock, this writer was of course interested, excited, but certainly worried. Yours truly did not want to see a beloved character get turned into an upper decker in a bathroom. After proceeding into the episodes ready for what was in store, it ended up being a relief.

The series is largely a success and sticks to its landing for the most part. Will Forte and Kristin Wiig deliver top-notch performances and do a great job jumping back in the shoes of these truly unbearable people and convincingly delivering some of the most over-the-top dialogue and scenarios you can imagine. Rounding out the cast are new additions Lawrence Fishburne and Sam Elliott as Mac’s dad, Perry, who deliver on their straight-faced remarks while acting opposite Forte and company. Forte is once again joined by Taccone and Soloman, who wrote most of the eight-episode season, with the latter directing a good chunk of episodes, as well as Lorne Michaels onboard Executive Producing.

It suffers from some minor problems, the most glaring problem really is the expanded runtime, now almost three times longer than the film. This provides moments that could have been left on the cutting room floor, and you can feel that they’re running the clock in certain instances. While Forte and Wiig found their groove almost instantly, other characters more or less fell by the wayside such as Piper, whereas in the film the character was transformed by Mac going from an uptight officer with pure hatred for our hero to finding admiration and respect all while discovering the perfect distraction of sticking celery in your rectum. It works every time. In this series, he is simply along for the ride and unfortunately not given much else. Even more disappointing was Zane’s portrayal of Queeth; where the writers could have really ran with an outlandish criminal presence, they instead deliver a typical, by the numbers wannabe crime lord with very little to say.

Despite its flaws, the season delivers with some truly laugh-out-loud moments, pushing the boundaries on over-the-top violence and crafting some more genius expletive laced insults, and of course, leaves room for the mother of all Mac-daddy teasers for a Season 2, should it get the green light.

MacGruber is now streaming on Peacock.


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