MacGruber (film)

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Macgruber poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jorma Taccone
Produced by Lorne Michaels
John Goldwyn
Written by Will Forte
John Solomon
Jorma Taccone
Starring Will Forte
Kristen Wiig
Ryan Phillippe
Powers Boothe
Maya Rudolph
Val Kilmer
Music by Matthew Compton
Cinematography Brandon Trost
Edited by Jamie Gross
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • March 15, 2010 (2010-03-15) (SXSW)
  • May 21, 2010 (2010-05-21) (United States)
Running time
99 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $10 million[2]
Box office $9,322,895[3]

MacGruber is a 2010 American action comedy film based on the Saturday Night Live sketch of the same name, itself a parody of action-adventure television series MacGyver. Jorma Taccone of the comedy trio The Lonely Island directed the film, which stars Will Forte in the title role; Kristen Wiig as his love interest/partner, Vicki St. Elmo; Ryan Phillippe as Dixon Piper, a young lieutenant who becomes part of MacGruber's team; Maya Rudolph as MacGruber's dead wife, Casey; and Val Kilmer as the villain, Dieter von Cunth.

The film, released on May 21, 2010 after being pushed from its original April 23 date, received mixed reviews and was a box office bomb, grossing $9.3 million worldwide on a $10 million budget.


In eastern Siberia's Dzhugdzhur Mountains, Dieter Von Cunth and his men take control of the X-5 missile, which is a nuclear warhead. On the other side of the world Col. Jim Faith and Lt. Dixon Piper are searching for former Green Beret, Navy SEAL and Army Ranger MacGruber in Ecuador. The two men find MacGruber meditating in a chapel, and try to convince him to return to the United States in an effort to retrieve the warhead. MacGruber refuses; later that night, MacGruber explodes into a fit of rage after a flashback where Cunth killed his fiancée, Casey Fitzpatrick, at their wedding; he then accepts the Colonel's offer.

After arriving at The Pentagon and having a heated conversation with Faith and Piper, MacGruber decides he will form his own team to pursue Cunth, declining the offer to build a team around Piper. MacGruber successfully recruits all but his long-time friend Vicki St. Elmo and Brick Hughes - MacGruber initially recruits Hughes, but upon discovering Brick is gay, crosses his name off his list. MacGruber and his team meet Faith and Piper on a tarmac. Upon being asked where his team is, MacGruber responds that they are in the van along with his homemade C-4 explosives. The van promptly explodes, killing the team. MacGruber is distraught over the loss of the team and is promptly removed from the Cunth case. In a one-on-one conversation with Piper, MacGruber convinces him to form a new team. Vicki also arrives, completing MacGruber's team.

The group travels to Cunth's nightclub in Las Vegas. MacGruber gets on stage and announces who he is, his intentions, and where he will be the next day. The team sets up a sting operation with Vicki portraying MacGruber. Hoss Bender, one of Cunth's henchmen, attacks the van MacGruber and Piper are in. MacGruber tells Piper to pass him an Incredi-Mop, which he uses to turn the ignition key and hit the gas pedal, running down Bender. With Vicki disguised as Bender and Piper disguised as MacGruber, the team breaks into a warehouse to stop von Cunth from getting the passwords to operate the rocket. MacGruber distracts the guards by walking around naked with a piece of celery clenched between his buttocks. Piper manages to kill most of the men inside, but is unable to stop the transfer of the pass codes. MacGruber and the team go to a charity event Cunth is holding. After a heated conversation, Cunth's guards throw MacGruber out.

After the fiasco, MacGruber returns to the Pentagon where Faith reprimands him. MacGruber and Piper relax and drink after being taken off the case. Soldiers attack but MacGruber uses Piper as a human shield to survive; Vicki and MacGruber escape. Piper survives due to the fact that he was wearing a bulletproof vest, but leaves, disgusted that MacGruber used him as protection. Vicki and MacGruber return to Vicki's house where the two have noisy sex. MacGruber goes to his wife's grave in shame, feeling that he has betrayed her memory, but her ghost gives her blessing to allow MacGruber to pursue Vicki. MacGruber then has sex with the ghost of his wife on her tombstone.

Upon returning to Vicki's house, MacGruber discovers that Cunth kidnapped her, and realizes what Cunth's plan is: to bomb the State of the Union address. Cunth calls MacGruber to gloat, but MacGruber traces the call. MacGruber meets up with Piper to save Vicki. The two men make their way into Cunth's compound, in large part due to MacGruber's propensity for ripping throats. Soldiers capture MacGruber and Piper and bring them to Vicki and the missile. The group manages to overpower Cunth and his men and MacGruber handcuffs Cunth to a handrail. MacGruber removes the nuclear component and guidance system before his team escapes as the missile explodes.

Six months later, MacGruber and Vicki are getting married. Also present at the wedding as ghosts are his dead team members Vernon Freedom, Tug Phelps, Tut Beemer, and Tanker Lutz. Out of the corner of his eye, MacGruber spots a disfigured Cunth, thought dead, with an RPG. MacGruber saves Vicki, and battles Cunth before throwing him off a cliff behind the altar, shooting him with a machine gun and launching a grenade as he falls, incinerating the corpse, and finally urinating on it at the foot of the cliff.

The end credits show MacGruber and Vicki's wedding party, where they eventually have sex on the dance floor. After the credits, MacGruber sits in a tree, playing a saxophone.



Kristen Wiig reprises her role as MacGruber's assistant, Vicki St. Elmo.

On the June 1, 2009 episode of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Will Forte announced that MacGruber had been greenlit and production was to begin on August 9, with Jimmy Fallon adding on the July 29 episode that it would be filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico.[4] Cameos by WWE wrestlers Chris Jericho, The Big Show, Mark Henry, Kane, MVP and The Great Khali and actor Derek Mears, were later confirmed.[5][6]

Although the film had a release date of May 21, 2010, the film was originally scheduled for an April 23 release.[citation needed]

Legal disputes[edit]

Prior to the film's release, MacGruber stirred controversy with Lee David Zlotoff, creator of the TV series MacGyver, whose contract stipulates he retains the right to a film version of the TV series. In 2010, his lawyer sent several cease-and-desist letters and met with litigators to determine a course of action. No suit has been brought.[7]


Pictures were leaked on the Internet on January 6, 2010. A two-minute red band trailer was released on January 19, 2010, and the next day, January 20, a green band trailer was released.[8]

On April 19, 2010, Forte, Wiig, and Phillippe hosted WWE Raw from the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey in character to promote the film.[9]

Phillippe guest starred on Saturday Night Live on April 17, 2010 and made reference to the film's shooting in his opening monologue.[10]


Critical response[edit]

The film received mixed reviews, citing the crude humor and vulgarity. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 47% based on 123 reviews, with an average score of 5.1/10. The site's consensus concludes the film "too often mistakes shock value for real humor, but MacGruber is better than many SNL films – and better than it probably should be."[11] Metacritic, another review aggregator, assigned the film a weighted average score of 43% based on 21 reviews from mainstream critics.[12]

Some reviewers were more supportive of the film. Chris Tilly of IGN UK gave it 3 out of 5 stars saying "When the film is funny, it's very funny."[13] Jon Peters of KillerFilm gave it 3 out of 5 stars saying "It's consistently funny and it didn't need gray tape to do it. It's funny in the old Airplane! humor, mixed with a little Mel Brooks, type of way [...] But none of this would work, if it wasn't for Will Forte's brilliant blend of witless charm and dumb ass heroics."[14]

Box office[edit]

The film grossed $1,569,025 on its opening day,[15] and $4,043,945 for its opening weekend.[16] The film earned a total of $8,460,995 by the end of its third weekend, still short of the $10 million production cost.[2]

In July 2010, Parade listed the film #2 on its list of "Biggest Box Office Flops of 2010."[17]

MacGruber realized a third-week drop of showings of 94%, from 2,546 to 177 theaters.[18] As a result of the flop, the film was removed from theaters after the third week.


After rumors of a sequel were dismissed by Forte in 2012, two years later, in August 2014, interest was renewed and director Taccone has revealed that an outline is complete.[19]


  1. ^ "MACGRUBER (15)". British Board of Film Classification. May 5, 2010. Retrieved November 1, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b MacGruber at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ Sperling, Nicole (May 30, 2010). "Box office update: 'Sex and the City 2' and 'Prince of Persia' can't stop 'Shrek'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 31, 2010. 
  4. ^ "MacGruber: The Movie Really Happening!". Retrieved August 4, 2009. 
  5. ^ "WWE News: Chris Jericho and Great Khali filming movie with SNL producer and cast member". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved August 13, 2009. 
  6. ^ Derek Mears on Twitter
  7. ^ "'MacGyver' creator wants to stop 'MacGruber' film". The Hollywood Reporter. December 21, 2010. 
  8. ^ Abramson, Dan (January 19, 2010). "MacGruber Trailer: First Look At Will Forte's New Film (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. 
  9. ^ "Upcoming Raw Guest Hosts". WWE. Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  10. ^ Saturday Night Live - Ryan Phillippe Monologue
  11. ^ MacGruber at Rotten Tomatoes
  12. ^ MacGruber at Metacritic
  13. ^ Chris Tilly. "MacGruber Review". Movies Review at IGN. Newscorp. 
  14. ^ Peters, Jon (May 21, 2010). "MacGruber Review". Retrieved June 9, 2010. 
  15. ^ Sperling, Nicole (May 22, 2010). "'Shrek' bows to $20 million Friday; 'MacGruber' fizzles". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  16. ^ Sperling, Nicole (May 23, 2010). "'Shrek' bows to $71.2 million; 'MacGruber' sinks". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 23, 2010. 
  17. ^ "10 Biggest Box Office Flops of 2010 (So Far)". Parade. July 19, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Biggest Theater Drops at the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. 
  19. ^ "MacGruber 2 Has An Outline, Might Actually Happen". CinemaBlend. August 29, 2014. Retrieved November 1, 2014. 

External links[edit]