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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

MacGruber (review)

Letter from a Sexually Stunted Frat Boy


(for sexually stunted frat boys)

(for everyone else)

Dont believe the haterz man! MacGruber is freakin awesome! Its funny cuz MacGruber is like totally incompent and stoopid and hes a cheap bastid and so scaredy catty he makes a chick do all the dangerous stuff. Oh man and he totally blows shit up thats not supposed to blow up but even that is awesome and theres lots of blood and goop and shit. And the bad guy whos all Val Kissler or whatever the hell his name is is like MacGruber you are a fucking retard who blows up his own dudes* and I was like Oh snap Cunth!

Oh yeah thats the bad guys name Cunth! That is so freakin awesome I cant even tell you how freakin awesome it is. If theres one bad thing about MacGruber its that nobody gets to say Cunth enough. I would totally be like CUNTH you are goin down and CUNTH you suck and How are we gonna stop CUNTH cuz CUNTH wants to destroy the world so only CUNTH gets to do stuff from now on. They all should totally be saying CUNTH more. But MacGruber does get to say a few times that hes gonna Pound some Cunth which is awesome cuz who doesnt like to pound some cunth every once an awhile know wut I mean man?
In case you didnt get it Cunth sounds like cunt which is a disgusting bitchpart that grosses me out so why do I want one so much? Thats freakin scary know wut Im sayin dude? So MacGruber the movie is like deep that way too.

Oh man and then in another bit the Ryan Filip soldier dude tells MacGruber his face looks like a vagina and thats totally awesome, because no dude wants his face to look like a disgusting vagina! I wuz like Oh snap Ryan Filip! Stupid vaginas.

So MacGruber has to like stop Cunth from nuking Washington or some shit and so he gets together his gang of total badasses except one of the big scary badass dudes totally gay kisses his gay homo boyfriend and MacGruber is all like No freakin way man! And its funny cuz nobody likes a faggity homo no matter how tough he is and so Mac crosses him off the list of the badass team hes collecting which is freakin awesome. Stupid homos.

And then its get even better because MacGruber is like a total fag too only not really. Hes all like I will suck your dick I will let you fuck me* when he needs something from the Ryan Filip soldier dude or that other old general soldier dude whos like in charge of the Pentagon or whatever. And Mac totally shoves celery up his butt in one bit which is totally gross but I might have to try that but it dont make me no fag haterz!

But hes not really a fag so its okay like when later he totally bangs that Kristin Wig character and it so freakin hilarious cuz hes like awful in the sack even tho his govinment file says Great Lover. So I dont get that shit when chicks tell me Im terrible when Im fuckin cuz I aint like MacGruber. Stupid bitches.

Oh man and the grossest part is when we get to see some fat old broads tit. I thought I was gonna puke I busted a gut laughin too cuz it was so damm funny!

Oh and Macs govinment file is all like he wuz a Navy Seal and an Army Ranger and Special Forces and hes won all these medals and shit and hes like a friggin Jedi or somethin. Which is funny cuz hes only does shit like blowin up his own dudes and he likes 80s soft rock and hes totally not a badass at all espeshly with that stoopid hair. Thats like a Contrast or something which is why its funny.

Saturday Nite Live movies rock dudez!

*actual quote from the film


MPAA: rated R for strong crude and sexual content, violence, language and some nudity

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine
  • JoshDM

    Quick! Destroy the generation gap and re-establish relevance by replacing every instance of “dude” in your review with the more appropriate term “bro”.

    This has been your suggestion of the day.

  • mike

    Well then…that was a stupid review. It’s rather ironic that in trying to stereotype simple-minded frat kids, you leveraged such an amateurish and ham-fisted brand of sarcasm that you come off as something even more childish and critically trivial than that which you mock. This reads like a posting on some 8th grade emo-kid’s blog.

    Pro tip: leave the comedy to the comedians. You’ll run less risk of coming off like a pseudo-intellectual bitter old harpy.

    And you’re welcome. But text tip will cost ya.

    One last thing: at some point you might realize that you’re part of the reason movies like this are funny. Hopefully that will never happen…the world needs such humor.

  • Tom

    Based on the comedic capabilities of this reviewer I can see why she wouldn’t like it.

  • Farrah Munoz

    “than that which you mock”

    oh, brother!

  • MaryAnn

    bitter old harpy

    And it took less than an hour.

  • Kate

    I got severe college flashbacks after reading this review. Frat boys are tragic examples of humanity. Or at least contemporary American youth culture.

    You pseudo-intellectual bitter old harpy, you. Probably a biast lesbian too.

  • I’m going to have to disagree with Mike and say that that review is awesomely creatively sarcastic, but I will say also that just because someone wants to see these type of slapstick comedies often referred to as “stupid comedies”, does not mean that that person is dumb or immature. The Jackass movies(only saw jackass 2) were full of stupid things, but they were funny(it was too gross though… I wouldn’t watch it again). Strange example, I know, my point is that stupid is funny and seeing a movie full of people who act ultra stupid or juvenile, isn’t going to dumb down one’s intelligence, although overexposure may

  • Shadowen

    I’m not gonna see it, and I’m probably not gonna after this, but I would point out that, no matter how much we talk about inner beauty and no matter how much we can talk about the beauty of the human form and so on, people should not have faces that look like a vagina? I mean, it’s not very original, but it is at least an insult.

  • Orangutan

    I’m quite frankly surprised that neither of the fanboys there employed the old ‘shut off your brain and enjoy’ tactic. I thought that was standard issue.

  • Matt

    Wow, I usually don’t write comments but this is the worst review that I have ever read. I really hope that this idiotic reviewer isn’t getting paid because her employers are wasting a ton of money. I will now see this movie just to spite her…

  • Harvey Karten

    That’s pretty creative shit, Mary Ann! Good one.

  • JT

    Hey, MaryAnn?

    You’re pretty awesome.

    Just thought you should know.

  • MaryAnn

    people should not have faces that look like a vagina? I mean, it’s not very original, but it is at least an insult.

    So, would it be an insult to say to someone, [was You’re] Your face looks like an ice cream sundae? People should not have faces that look like ice cream sundaes, either.

    I will now see this movie just to spite her…

    I’m acutally going to send that to the publicist along with my review. I’m sure they’ll be delighted to hear that people are seeing the movie based upon my review.

  • Matt

    Wow, I can just imagine the author high-fiving herself for coming up with such scathing sarcasm. As a 20 something male, I’m going to have to share that this life altering piece of prose was easy to dismiss because I think she failed to accurately represent any person that has ever existed, ever.

  • DickRichards

    It’s funny that this reviewer doesn’t know the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re.’ Way to go, dunce. What are you looking for out of this movie, life lessons, and a deep, insightful narrative?

  • MaryAnn

    This is gonna be far, far more entertaining than the movie. I’m gonna go make some popcorn…

  • MaryAnn

    Oh, and thanks, Dick, for pointing out the typo in my comment. I’ll fix it…

  • Why are you people ripping on her so bad? This is ridiculously childish, she’s allowed to have and opinion – and so are we, say your two cents in a logical, persuasive, and kind manner and then back off…. Having opinions and articulating them is her job, no need to get flustered over movie opinions, haha….

  • Greg

    To reiterate what Mike said, for someone so dead set on panning anything and everything that could possibly be considered low-brow, unintelligent comedy, its pretty ironic that you wrote a “review” that was essentially a series of unoriginal jokes about how much smarter you are than frat boys. I get it, they spell it “wuz” instead of “was” because they’re stupid. Nice one.

    Maybe it makes sense though. One is allowed to participate in cheap stereotype jokes so long as they’re a dignified movie-reviewer with a totally unpretentious blog (seriously, you seem very humble!). Its when those hacky movie-makers do it that its so furstrating!

    You should probably just stop reviewing movies like this. Everyone knows your opinion about them, and if you’re going to take the review as an opportunity to make lazy jokes about people 20 years younger than you being less intelligent than you without actually, you know, reviewing the movie in any meaningful capacity, there’s probably no point writing it. But I don’t know, maybe its just that being a “frat boy” and all, I am too sexually stunted, love to word c*** too much, and am too busy hating gay people to even think clearly.

  • Al G

    This article suggests that in order to like a film like this I’d have to be an idiot frat boy. Id like you to know that my favorite films are made by those that go by the name of Lumet, Scorsesse, and Leone. Yet I still find the time to enjoy a dumb comedy.

    Lighten up lady.

  • MaryAnn

    Greg and Mike, why don’t you explain what you find funny about this movie? I’d really love to know. Because there’s really not much there other than homophobia and shit jokes. So if that’s not what you’re finding funny, what is?

  • MaryAnn

    This article suggests that in order to like a film like this I’d have to be an idiot frat boy.

    Nothing gets past some people. You caught on, did you?

  • How flipping funny with that be if RDA(Richard Dean Anderson(MacGyver)) likes it?

  • Ray

    And here I thought a movie reviewers job was to, ya know, review movies so that the viewing public can make a more informed decision as to whether they want to spend their hard earned money on a ten dollar ticket and twenty dollars worth of snacks.

    I guess I was wrong. Is it now a movie reviewers job to offer social commentary that is wildly off the mark first of all, and totally unwarranted?

    I haven’t seen the movie, but the skits on SNL are very funny (I was raised on MacGyver), and if the movie has poop jokes and gay humour so what?

    In fact, this review and the reviewers attitude towards “low brow” humour (which is very funny in its own right) reminds me of the scene in Not Another Teen Movie where the English professor is going on and on about the decay of society and how true humour is a clever turn of phrase, all the while the buildup of comedic tension with the farting girl and the three boys in the air duct.

    The Internet will shit all over you, and for good reason. There are many types of humour, all of which are just as valid as the next, with the only determining factor being whether the audience laughs and is amused.

    And besides, your review was so crudely constructed and is so far out of touch with actual street lingo that you just look even more foolish and elitist than you would have had you just posted a review saying why you didn’t like the movie. As has been said, leave the comedy to the comedians, and save your jokes with fumbled punchlines for uncomfortable family gatherings as awkward icebreakers.

  • Joe

    Something tells me this review was written solely for publicity. Juvenile humor has its place in cinema. Now, I haven’t seen MacGruber, but I plan to, simply because it’s been a while since I’ve seen a comedy and I like most of the players in this film (Will Forte, Val Kilmer, Kristen Wiig, and Jorma Taccone). But to simply write it off as fratboy fare makes you seem outdated, MaryAnn. I roomed with a fratboy this past year at college. Maybe it’s because I’m in the Northeast, but they seemed a little bit more sophisticated than that.

    Granted, they still laughed at terrible movies and every time a woman came on television they’d say “oh damn she is so sexy I’d like to fuck her brains out,” but they could still spell correctly.

    It’s a common thought that fratboys are idiots because they, well, are idiots. The lack of schoolwork and overflow of drinking they do instead is why they have such low GPAs.

    I mean, I respect your opinion, but a lot of the comedy is supposed to be derived from MacGruber just being an all-out terrible person, not just gross-out stuff. I mean, really, did you even see Bruno? I’m sure this looks like The Lion King next to that.

  • kathleen

    I love that these overly defensive boys are completely missing the point of the review. Sigh. Methinks they protest too much.
    Dude. That was one hawt mother effer review. KnowatImsayin.

  • Bayers

    lol, great review.

  • MaryAnn

    Ah, I see my error now. It’s okay to be a juvenile idiot who is terrified of women and gays and never got over potty training if one can spell properly.

    My bad.

  • Sometimes MA’s reviews tempt me to watch a movie so I can join in the snark.

    As for the “street language,” since MA and I are about the same age, I didn’t notice any lapses. I suppose there would have to be some, since slang English comes and goes much faster than formal language, which is why professional novelists keep telling me at workshops to be wary of using it. Nothing dates a writer faster than slang and politics. (But I still laughed)

  • Henry

    Full disclosure: I periodically read MaryAnn’s Crossroads review, just for fun.

    I liked this one too.

    Really? The villain’s name is Cunth? Really?

  • Alex

    Why are you people ripping on her so bad?

    Because she could’ve just wrote “I thought this movie was dumb and juvenile” instead of a 10 paragraphs of tripe that said more about the writer’s opinion of “sexually stunted frat boys” than the movie.

  • Julie

    What I love so much about all this is that the MacGruber review has such an astonishingly high number of comments. Really? You’re “defending” MacGruber? I’m also surprised that people are surprised by this review. I, frankly, had written this movie off a long time ago. Someone said the skits on SNL are “very funny” which proves that comedy is subjective. Personally I find the skits irritating at best, and not just because I also grew up on MacGyver (my family dog was named for him) but they are predictable and idiotic.

    Selling tickets at a comedy club I am often asked “Is the comic funny?” Well, gee, I guess that depends on what you find funny now, doesn’t it? Me, I like Monty Python, non sequiturs and dead baby jokes. Some people like Benny Hill, fart jokes and women getting stuff spilled on them. Some people probably like all of it to some degree, at some times.

    If you didn’t find the review funny, you have that right. Just as MaryAnn didn’t find the movie funny. So how about we find something more interesting to waste our time on, k?

  • Mike

    You are officially the douche of the week.

  • Tony

    Oh no!!! It’s official MaryAnn. No take-backs.

  • Max

    Dear Mary Ann,

    You are neither relevant or funny. Enjoy your’96 Saab and staying in on Saturday nights.

    Level.

  • Orangutan

    Oh wow, this is gonna be good. Can I share the popcorn, MAJ?

    Might as well chime in here with my own opinions. Haven’t seen the movie, won’t be because SNL hasn’t produced anything worthwhile or even mildly amusing since the 80s (and even that’s questionable). Thought the review was brill, not quite top 10 material, but just about equal to the satire of the Twilight reviews.

    Oh, and Airplane! is the pinnacle of Hollywood comedy. None shall ever surpass it.

    Neima said: Why are you people ripping on her so bad? This is ridiculously childish, she’s allowed to have and opinion – and so are we, say your two cents in a logical, persuasive, and kind manner and then back off…. Having opinions and articulating them is her job, no need to get flustered over movie opinions, haha….

    But you see, her opinion does not match theirs. Therefore, she should not be allowed to express it. You see this phenomenon a lot with Twitards, and occasionally horror hardcore fans.

    Also: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19/

    My own theory? People internalize their likes and dislikes so much now that any different opinion becomes a personal attack on them. So they defend themselves/the movie.

    Just a theory, I admit it’s been a while since I studied human psychology.

  • nick

    i will respect this review if you come out against the gender and homophobic stereotypes in the next sex in the city movie.

  • Nate

    i will respect this review if you come out against the gender and homophobic stereotypes in the next sex in the city movie.

    I don’t think you’ll have to worry about that

  • Drave

    I can’t decide which is making me laugh harder; the reviews, or the comments! Why do unarmed people so frequently “challenge” you to a battle of wits?

  • steve

    I like the comment someone made about “if you don’t like it just say so”. This really is a poor review because it really isn’t a review. It’s sort of a snarky slap at someone who you think doesn’t deserve something they are getting from other people.
    I personally thought he movie was funny, and not for most of the reasons you outline here. Clearly you have an issue with the female body parts being used as running gags – so just say so. That’s a perfectly legitimate take, but your own sophomoric attempt of coming at the review as if you know the kind of person who will find this entertaining does come off as fairly bitter. I don’t know how you usually review films but step away from this sort of attempt at sarcasm-it doesn’t work for you.
    I was at a screening with a very mixed age, gender and age audience and they roundly laughed..and laughed hard. Sure some of it is working way too hard for the laugh, but it still worked for the most part. Will Forte is willing to do anything to get the laugh, and he does. But it is framed in a pretty decent plot with almost everyone else playing deadly serious to Forte’s idiot- and that combination scores repeatedly. I can laugh at highbrow and lowbrow comedy if it’s funny – and this was funny. Clearly it wasn’t up your alley, and that was really all you had to say.

  • MaryAnn

    Clearly you have an issue with the female body parts being used as running gags – so just say so.

    I believe I did say so. Perhaps you could explain why you find female body parts funny.

    I don’t know how you usually review films

    There are 13 years worth of reviews at this site. It’s not a secret how I usually review films.

  • MaryAnn

    Enjoy your’96 Saab and staying in on Saturday nights.

    The wit. I am slain by people who insult other people based on the kind of car they drive.

    Max, I’m so gonna rock your world here: I don’t own a car. There are people who get by in the world — in the Western world, no less — without benefit of a metal-and-plastic penis extender. You should try it.

    This is all definitely way more entertaining than the movie itself.

  • I always read your reviews to try and get a different perspective, but I think maybe your “homophobia” meter is set too high. There were jokes about man-on-man dick-sucking in the movie, yeah, and they may have been immature, but I don’t think they were in any way predicated on the fact that gay or homosexual sex was bad. In fact, you could argue that since MacGruber’s first gambit after anyone ever tries to fire him is to offer to suck their dick, that he’s the opposite of homophobic.

    I thought Val Kilmer was pretty funny in the movie.

  • ETA: Technically, there is the gag where MacGruber doesn’t allow the gay guy to join his team, but I’ll let that one slide because the idea is that the dude is no longer a ferocious killer (MacGruber invites them to his wedding at the end of the movie, so clearly they’re still buddies).

    You could say that supports some stereotype, but I think it’d be a stretch to say that was the point of the joke.

    Don’t stoop to a car joke, MaryAnn! That’s exactly what you’re accusing him of! And I think the whole idea of cars to cover up insecurities doesn’t hold much water. I drive a car because places I need to get to are far away.

  • Tony

    Clearly it wasn’t up your alley, and that was really all you had to say.

    Really? I wouldn’t continue reading reviews by a critic whose only comments on movies she didn’t like were “it wasn’t up my alley”. I don’t think anyone would. Part of the fun with reading reviews from critics, I hate to admit it, is their humorous take on “bad” movies. In fact, the reason I started reading MJ’s blog in the first place was because of her review of Battlefield Earth, in my opinion one of the funniest reviews I’ve ever read.

  • Garrett

    This review blows, but it was partly humorous.

  • MaryAnn

    Technically, there is the gag where MacGruber doesn’t allow the gay guy to join his team, but I’ll let that one slide because the idea is that the dude is no longer a ferocious killer

    How is that the idea? From where does that idea come from? The *only* thing that differentiates the guy MacGruber crosses off his list from the ones he doesn’t is that the guy kisses another guy.

    In fact, you could argue that since MacGruber’s first gambit after anyone ever tries to fire him is to offer to suck their dick, that he’s the opposite of homophobic.

    The “joke” is that MacGruber is somehow less of a hero because he is willing to suck another guy’s dick. You honestly don’t see that? The audience is meant to laugh at MacGruber because he “unmans” himself. There’s no other purpose to such a “joke.” How do you see it?

    Don’t stoop to a car joke, MaryAnn! That’s exactly what you’re accusing him of!

    Not accusing: it’s quite clear that Max thinks he’s insulting me somehow by suggesting that I drive a Saab. What does that even mean?

    And I think the whole idea of cars to cover up insecurities doesn’t hold much water.

    Max thinks it does.

  • [quote]How is that the idea? From where does that idea come from? The *only* thing that differentiates the guy MacGruber crosses off his list from the ones he doesn’t is that the guy kisses another guy.[/quote]I guess, but MacGruber seems perfectly accepting of the fact that they’re a gay couple, and they’re having a ball in his wedding photos at the end. I wouldn’t call the joke anti-gay.[quote]The “joke” is that MacGruber is somehow less of a hero because he is willing to suck another guy’s dick. You honestly don’t see that? The audience is meant to laugh at MacGruber because he “unmans” himself. There’s no other purpose to such a “joke.” How do you see it?[/quote]For me, it’s more of a shock value/absurdist joke. Of every bribe in the world, it’s funny to me that not only is MacGruber convinced such an offer is going to work on either Dixon Piper or his former mentor, but that he chooses to open with it rather than attempting any other negotiation tactics. His visible commitment to the idea is also funny to me, as is the fact that there really isn’t any logical connection to conceding to sex and staying on the mission (which he didn’t want to take in the first place). I get the impression that MacGruber, in any situation where something important was being taken from him, would use that same tactic on anyone (man, woman, friend, foe) in the whole wide world, because it’s the only thing he thinks will work.

  • A.M.

    My one complaint with this satirical review is that your “character” flip flops between frat-boy speak, leet speak, and something a 14 year old girl might say. (“stoopid”…not in dude vernacular, fyi)

    I’ve spent more time than I probably should have around “frat boys.” None of them spoke this way. Not even the overtly and shockingly misogynistic “probably a date rapist” ones.

    So since there’s not a lot of consistency or authenticity to the satire it comes across as muddled, hostile, and a little out of touch.

    But you did get some internerd so worked up that he actually used “Pro Tip:” in a non-ironic manner, so kudos to you, madam.

    I grant you 15 Troll points, spend them wisely.

  • wow

    Mary-ann and her menstruating friends think they’re witty and wry. They think that this movie is directed at homophobes and gorillas. Sorry mom, but you’re part the of the joke. It’s called anti-humor,and I’m actually comforted by the fact that you haven’t caught on yet. I appreciate the hilarious review, now go drive your PT cruiser and enjoy watching cougar town with your “friends.” I’m not defending Macgruber, I’m defending my generation. Sorry but you’re not in-touch, your humor will never be funny to any male or female under the age of 25, and I would certainly not be surprised if a majority of the nation’s frat boys happen to have a higher IQ than you. Enjoy being a pretentious bitch and go ride a frat boy’s cadillac escalade-enhanced penis. (thats funny right? Insecurity jokes?!!! LOOK JIMMY, I POKED YOU ON FACEBOOK! LOL!!!!)

  • Methinks the laddies dost protest too much.

    The lady, on the other hand, is just fine.

  • Knightgee

    I’m defending my generation. Sorry but you’re not in-touch, your humor will never be funny to any male or female under the age of 25,

    I am 21, male, and you do not speak for me. I found this review funny. It was made extra funny due to the comments from males who are now all hurting inside because she made them feel silly. As for her being out of touch with “street lingo”, just replace all the “dudes” with “bro” and you’re all caught up.

  • Will S.

    Please stop misrepresenting the meaning of that oft-quoted line from Hamlet. It demonstrates only smug ignorance, methinks.

  • tzarek

    The thing is, there are two separate issues here. The first is that MacGruber is probably not a very good movie. The second is that UTTERLY REGARDLESS of the quality of MacGruber as a movie, this was a shockingly embarrassingly poor review, the literary equivalent of your grandpa saying “For shizzle my nizzle! Bling bling!” and then awkwardly pausing for laughter from his utterly mortified grandkids. The lingo was monstrously off, the jokes were beyond unfunny, and the voice was just baffling… “cheap bastid”? “scaredy catty”? Jesus, what is this, like a ten year old from Boston? Have you ever even HEARD what a frat guy talks like?

    Seriously Mary-Ann, some of your reviews can be insightful and illuminating. But for the love of god, stay away from comedy. This was just *awful*.

  • mac

    I’ll suck your dick if you stop reviewing movies

  • Frankie T

    MarryAnn, you shouldnt even acknowledge these cretins. They will only infuriate and annoy. Its better to ignore the losers of the internet than to try to engage with them. They all think that their opinion matters when it matters not.

    Doug Stanhope said it best, I think. Thats just my worthless opinion though

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RycwYRcm3Lc

  • LaSargenta

    Damn! I’m all out of popcorn!

  • Der Bruno Stroszek

    It’s called anti-humor

    It sure is!

    No,but seriously, this is the technical term for saying something bigoted then saying “DURR HOY HOY I WAS BEIN IRONIC YOU SURE ARE SENSITIVE I ACTED LIKE A DICK AND THEN YOU CALLED ME A DICK SO I WIN FOR SOME FUCKING UNFATHOMABLE REASON”, isn’t it? Because I think that shit’s a complete waste of time, and I’m much closer to your age than MaryAnn’s.

    I would certainly not be surprised if a majority of the nation’s frat boys happen to have a higher IQ than you.

    I actually would. But then, you use “menstruating” as an insult, so you’re not qualified to decide who is and who isn’t a dumbass.

  • Christopher

    This was some funny shit.

    Seriously though, Mary Anne, after 13 years of reviewing movies I’m pretty sure you knew this wouldn’t be your type of movie in the first place. As a professional reviewer, you should put up a disclaimer stating this.

    Since MacGruber is definitely a niche market movie, I want to see a review from someone that enjoys infantile humor.

    As an opinion piece on the state of low-brow cinema, your review absolutely excelled. I don’t think it’s fair to classify everyone who’d watch this movie as a frat boy. I consider myself fairly intelligent, but I often enjoy watching something completely mindless.

  • mfan

    This was a hilarious review which I’m sure is funnier than the movie. And I can’t believe that fratboys are offended??? I thought they supposedly ruled their schools, but I guess not. Maybe we need to call them Fraternity Brothers so as not to hurt their tender feelings. What’s really impressive about this review is that I’ve seen the same sort of thing attempted by the New York Times for a Hannah Montana: The Movie review, UNSUCCESSFULLY! So kudos.

  • mfan

    @Christopher, I totally understand where you are coming from. Even though I am male, I often get ticked off that the film review community, which is overwhelmingly male, has the nerve to often simply write off romantic comedies and romantic dramas, just because guys, in general, do not like these movies. That would be like women writing off movies that contain car chases or explosions. It would be nice to have them simply compare them to each other instead of ripping them apart. So in those terms, this reviewer is not doing anything most other reviewer do. She simply has more Verve. And she actually did give me enough information to make a buying decision (nope).

    I’ve read that if you liked Bruno, or maybe even Hot Tub Time Machine, you will probably like this movie.

  • Dre in Spain

    I don’t know which comment made me laugh harder:

    “pseudo-intellectual bitter old harpy” or “Mary-ann and her menstruating friends”.

    It’s quite strange how a review that was only posted yesterday has received so many outraged comments. It’s almost as if there was a team of people paid for by the film’s publicity dept to post positive comments on the film or attack anyone who makes a negative remark about it.

    Of course, that couldn’t possibly be true. If it is true, then advertising & publicity has sunk to a new low.

    kudos to Frankie T for linking to Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe! The entire series is highly recommended to everyone.

    Right, I’m off to get “pseudo-intellectual bitter old harpy” printed onto a t-shirt. Perhaps I’ll meet up with some menstruating friends later…

  • MaSch

    Christopher: As MaryAnn was “officially dreading” this movie for the last month or longer, so there certainly has been a disclaimer that she thinks this movie will most probably not be up her alley.

    MaryAnn: Just recently I stumbled across your brilliant “Snakes on a plane” review; I think that approach would have worked better for a review of MacGruber than the route you took. Your twitter reaction to seeing this movie was by far funnier than anything in the review.

    The guys who personally attack MaryAnn with gendered insults: It’s people like you who give misogynists a bad name.

    PS: The MacGruber link on the right side links to the trailer, not the review.

  • Kyle

    I thought the review was kind of boring in it’s attempt to be funny, but it was informative as I now understand what type of humor prevails. From the trailers alone, MacGruber clearly isn’t everyone’s brand of humor, and I am actually surprised it’s even as high as 56% on Rotten Tomatoes right now. I am going to see this, I feel like a stupid comedy is right up my alley at the moment. Hopefully I won’t regret my decision, haha.

  • Just want to say it’s a total shocker that you don’t have a car because you totally don’t come off as a pretentious lesbian. That being said, why are you going to the MacGruber movie looking for some sort of deep, hidden meanings relating to homophobia?

    I would probably respect your opinion if you took the time to write a real review. Give it a shot next time.

  • Jason

    There is no way this movie is worse than this review.

  • Left_Wing_Fox

    *muches popcorn and watches misogynists flinging poop.*

    It’s like watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer if it were built on the Bro’hole instead of the Hellmouth. You’d think MaryAnn just drove a stake through their collective crotch the way these guys are reacting.

  • Chris

    This is absolutely hilarious. Not the review, though it was perfectly fine, and coincided with my opinion that this movie was going to suck. Rather, the apparent horror that some morons feel when someone DARES to make fun of a movie is astounding. While your frat imitation wasn’t exactly dead-on, it was close enough. I have a feeling that most of these people are either A. idiot frat guys themselves, or B. paid by the film company

  • moh456

    The annoying thing about this review is that the author seems to think the audience is intended to laugh with MacGruber instead of at him. The character is juvenile, arrogant, homophobic, dimwitted, sexually frustrated, etc.– but he’s the butt of the jokes, such as they are.

    MacGruber isn’t a great movie, but it’s funny enough in it’s own infantile way, and it deserves a review that actually addresses it honestly. Instead we get a severely off the mark imagining of what was going through the audience’s mind, that reveals more about the reviewer than it does the movie.

  • MaryAnn

    Seriously though, Mary Anne, after 13 years of reviewing movies I’m pretty sure you knew this wouldn’t be your type of movie in the first place. As a professional reviewer, you should put up a disclaimer stating this.

    I’m glad you liked the review, Christopher, but can you please point out where other professional critics post such disclaimers? In fact, can you point out *any* professional critic who is as upfront as I am, with my Bias Meter, about my biases?

    Since MacGruber is definitely a niche market movie, I want to see a review from someone that enjoys infantile humor.

    *MacGruber* is most certainly not a “niche market movie.” Niche movies open on four screens in arthouses in big cities. This, on the other hand, is a mainstream movie opening on thousands of screens, expected to draw a mainstream audience and make millions of dollars in its first weekend alone.

    I write for the people who like the kinds of movies I like, and who don’t like the kinds of movies I don’t like. It’s as simple as that. And yet, how can I know *for certain* that I won’t like a movie until I’ve actually seen it? Do you seriously want to read a critic who sees *only* movies s/he expects to like, and then writes *only* about those s/he actually did like?

    As an opinion piece on the state of low-brow cinema, your review absolutely excelled. I don’t think it’s fair to classify everyone who’d watch this movie as a frat boy. I consider myself fairly intelligent, but I often enjoy watching something completely mindless.

    Okay, then perhaps you can explain how you reconcile your intelligence with finding shit funny. With finding homophobia funny? How does your intelligence not rebel when a filmmaker assumes you have the sophistication and mental capacity of a kindergartner?

  • Alec

    The biggest problem with this review is that it is redundant. Writing in the frat boy speech makes its point in the lead and then gets old. The review would’ve been stronger if it started out in that style and switched to a real review that actually explained why the film is so contemptible. Many reviews are saying that the movie is funny for five minutes and then it gets old, which, in a way, is what this review does as well. But I doubt the satire goes as deep as to imply that a one-joke premise stretched too far is no longer funny. Adding a line like this could possibly justify the review: “This stopped being funny after the second paragraph didn’t it? That sums up the experiencing of MacGruber. A one-joke premise that is funny for five minutes and painful for the rest.” As is the review simply seems elitist and condescending.

  • MaryAnn

    The annoying thing about this review is that the author seems to think the audience is intended to laugh with MacGruber instead of at him. The character is juvenile, arrogant, homophobic, dimwitted, sexually frustrated, etc.– but he’s the butt of the jokes, such as they are.

    No, I get that. But still, you need to find feces funny and homosexuality terrifying to find the “jokes” funny. For instance, the bit with the celery is only funny if you’re meant to laugh at MacGruber because he is doing something “gay” by sticking a piece of celery up his ass. By contrast, in the straight sex scene, the mere fact that MacGruber is sticking his dick into Kristen Wiig’s vagina is not in itself meant to be funny.

    MacGruber isn’t a great movie, but it’s funny enough in it’s own infantile way, and it deserves a review that actually addresses it honestly. Instead we get a severely off the mark imagining of what was going through the audience’s mind, that reveals more about the reviewer than it does the movie.

    I’m not trying to hide anything about myself. What do you imagine that I’ve “unintentionally” revealed about myself in this review?

    And in what way do you believe I’m being dishonest? I don’t find this stuff funny, and I am utterly baffled by people who say they’re adults and insist that they’re intelligent yet nevertheless find amusing stuff it sounds like a toddler wrote. I don’t understand people who find the normal functioning of the human body uproariously hilarious, and I don’t understand people who are so uncomfortable with their own sexuality that they are threatened by the concept of homosexuality. I would be dishonest if my review did not reflect this. I do not find this movie “funny enough in its own infantile way.” I find this yet another disturbing example of how dumbed-down our culture is.

    You are free to disagree with me, naturally, but it’s not fair to say that I’m being dishonest or I’m “severely off the mark.” This review represents how I honestly, truly, actually feel.

  • MaryAnn

    As is the review simply seems elitist and condescending.

    What’s wrong with being elitist and condescending?

  • Are you seriously asking that MaryAnn?

  • I see I got confused and used BBcode instead of HTML. Well, I’m going to re-post my comment then. Feel free to delete the other one.

    How is that the idea? From where does that idea come from? The *only* thing that differentiates the guy MacGruber crosses off his list from the ones he doesn’t is that the guy kisses another guy.

    I guess, but MacGruber seems perfectly accepting of the fact that they’re a gay couple, and they’re having a ball in his wedding photos at the end. I wouldn’t call the joke anti-gay.The “joke” is that MacGruber is somehow less of a hero because he is willing to suck another guy’s dick. You honestly don’t see that? The audience is meant to laugh at MacGruber because he “unmans” himself. There’s no other purpose to such a “joke.” How do you see it?For me, it’s more of a shock value/absurdist joke. Of every bribe in the world, it’s funny to me that not only has MacGruber decided such an offer is worth trying on either Dixon Piper or his former mentor, but that he chooses to open with it rather than attempting any other negotiation tactics. His visible commitment to the idea is also funny to me, as is the fact that there really isn’t any logical connection to his offer of sex and getting to stay on the mission (a mission he didn’t want to take in the first place). Really, I get the impression that MacGruber, in any situation where something important was being taken from him, would use that same tactic on anyone (man, woman, friend, foe) in the whole wide world, because it’s the only thing he can think of as a bargaining chip.

    I think you view most of the jokes in the movie differently than many of the people that laugh at them. You also call out the movie’s numerous poop jokes in the review, but it’s not like all of us are laughing because poop is inherently funny. The term “upper decker” is funny to me, as is the idea that Val Kilmer’s character has already heard of one. MacGruber’s doodle of the license plate guy is also so cruddy, I laugh at the mental picture of him sitting there angrily drawing it.

    The people you actually wrote your review imitating/mocking are certainly out there. But for me, the humor is often balanced on the fact that it’s so exaggerated.

  • Ugh, I got it wrong again. I wish I could edit my posts.

  • Brian

    “What’s wrong with being elitist and condescending?”

    Way to be professional.

  • moh456

    “For instance, the bit with the celery is only funny if you’re meant to laugh at MacGruber because he is doing something “gay” by sticking a piece of celery up his ass.”

    I disagree– the funniest thing about that scene is that it’s preceded by MacGruber going through a trash can, pulling out a bunch of random items– hairspray can, maybe some paper clips, tennis ball, celery stick, etc.– and promising confidently to assemble a “distraction.” The distraction, instead of the expected MacGyvering, is a naked Will Forte with a celery stick up his ass. The misdirect, silliness, and incompetence are what’s funny. I don’t think a single person was laughing because they thought MacGruber was acting “gay.”

    That’s the sort of misunderstanding that I think flaws the review. Dishonest was probably the wrong word. I can absolutely understand that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and even as someone who enjoyed the movie I wouldn’t give it more than a B or B+. The jokes are mostly crude, and I don’t blame you for not finding them funny. I have more of an issue with the reviews misunderstanding of why they’re intended to be funny, rather than its judgment on whether or not they actually succeed.

  • Alli

    I don’t know how you usually review films but step away from this sort of attempt at sarcasm-it doesn’t work for you.

    And yet here we are, over 70 comments later. I think it worked.

    Seriously though, Mary Anne, after 13 years of reviewing movies I’m pretty sure you knew this wouldn’t be your type of movie in the first place. As a professional reviewer, you should put up a disclaimer stating this.

    She has one. It’s called a Bias Meter, and it’s at the top of the page. As you can see, she’s dreading Sex and The City 2, which means we can expect another snarky post soon. Eclipse should be even better next month.

  • lol

    “Are you seriously asking that MaryAnn?” -Neima

    Looks like even the fans of a snobbish conceited old banshee can be complete idiots.

  • MaryAnn

    Are you seriously asking that MaryAnn?

    Yes, I am seriously asking “What’s wrong with being elitist and condescending?” This is a movie about shit jokes and laughing at Teh Gay. Are you seriously suggesting that there’s something wrong with saying that juvenile idiocy is juvenile idiocy? Are you seriously suggesting that it’s wrong to be more elite than this kindergarten crap?

  • b

    Mary Ann – Publicly embarrassing herself in front of the internet since 1997.

  • Dre in Spain

    ooh another classic.. “snobbish conceited old banshee”.

    I’m going to have to have that embroidered onto my underwear to match the “pseudo-intellectual bitter old harpy” t-shirt.

    I realise that these insults are directed at MAJ, but seriously guys, it’s as if you’re describing me.

    Do you have some sort of random insult generator?

    Intellectual description + reference to age + mythical female entity = supposedly insulting putdown?

  • lol

    Thanks for dissecting my insult dre, I think you understand the point I was trying to get across. I’m sorry that things just aren’t like how they were in “the good ol’ days,” when teenagers wouldn’t insult you for having the comedic capabilities of Happy Days and the naivete of someone much older.

  • Cory

    This review (and from the looks of her replies to comments) is an embarrassment to society.

  • Dre in Spain

    lol – I am genuinely enjoying the insults, I’m laughing out loud at them.

    I can’t work out by your final comment if you were being offensive or not? That could be a cultural thing though.

    Seriously, it’s far more comedic (in my opinion) to describe someone as a “snobbish conceited old banshee”, than it is just to refer to a woman as a whore/bitch etc. I would happily refer to myself as a snobbish conceited old banshee.
    Then again, I am quite twisted…

  • Annelise

    Ha! The review is great, as is this whole thread. “Frat boy” here is a mentality, entitled men looking down on others based on the privilege of their background(including gender). The mentality is close minded and dismissive of others’ points of view. The question of innate intelligence, current slang or even grammar is moot, because it’s the boorish attitude that fits the description. It’s hilarious that the “boys” are so sensitive to a little witty criticism. Ironic that they find her use of slang to be a reason to dismiss MaryAnn’s review as dated humor, since MacGruber parodies dated 80’s television. The “boys” do like to laugh at dated humor, but only when it ridicules a different demographic than their own. As for the sexist comments… Omega Theta Pis, Puleeze!

  • Drave

    This is one of the most hilarious comment threads this site has ever inspired. Currently, Left_Wing_Fox is holding the comment trophy. I absolutely cannot shake the visual of MaryAnn as Buffy, driving stakes into the crotches of the frat boy zombies spewing forth from the Bro’hole.

    What I really want to know is where these people come from! MaryAnn, do your web analytic tools let you connect the comments with the referring URL? Can you tell us what percentage of misogynist idiots are coming from each review aggregation site? Inquiring minds want to know!

  • Oh goodness

    Annelise’s comment was by far the most hilarious yet. Just as Mary-Ann was trying to mimic a frat boy, I can only assume that Annelise was going for the sorority girl. The sorority girl who is a virgin not by her choosing, but because she weighs over 200 pounds. At least she’ll always have her brains!

  • MaryAnn

    It astonishes me — though it shouldn’t, I suppose — that the fans of this film wholeheartedly embrace it as “lowbrow,” but then they’re insulted when someone is “elitist” enough not to embrace what they themselves admit is lowbrow.

    I disagree– the funniest thing about that scene is that it’s preceded by MacGruber going through a trash can, pulling out a bunch of random items– hairspray can, maybe some paper clips, tennis ball, celery stick, etc.– and promising confidently to assemble a “distraction.” The distraction, instead of the expected MacGyvering, is a naked Will Forte with a celery stick up his ass. The misdirect, silliness, and incompetence are what’s funny. I don’t think a single person was laughing because they thought MacGruber was acting “gay.”

    MacGruber may put together his “distraction” from random items found in a trash can, but what items the writers put in his hands is far from “random.”

    MacGruber could be all the things he is in the movie — stupid, cowardly, ineffectual, etc — without the shit jokes and the gay jokes. Those qualities could have been depicted through other means. The filmmakers chose to depict them through jokes about shit and homosexuality because they knew the audience would laugh at this. If we didn’t live in a culture in which it is acceptable and expected that many, many people embrace this juvenile humor — no matter how intelligent those people are — then this movie would not exist as it does. It also wouldn’t exist if adults were in the least bit embarrassed to admit that they find shit hilarious and gay people scary and strange and “shocking.”

    Instead, I am the one who is supposed to be embarrassing herself because I do not embrace a juvenile sense of humor, and because I expect grownups to be reasonably grown up.

    Something is seriously fucked up here.

  • MaryAnn

    What I really want to know is where these people come from! MaryAnn, do your web analytic tools let you connect the comments with the referring URL? Can you tell us what percentage of misogynist idiots are coming from each review aggregation site? Inquiring minds want to know!

    I can see referring URLs, but not how specific visitors get here. There’s a lot of traffic coming from the Rotten Tomatoes page for this movie, and since many of the comments here sound like the kind of thing that Rotten Tomatoes commenters often say, I suspect that’s the source.

  • lol

    sorry we can’t all meet your expectations Mary-ann. Some of us just don’t have such refined, intellectual tastes like you. Maybe you could put us all in some kind of camp where we could be eradicated and nevver heard from again? Just a suggestion!

  • Dre in Spain

    Oh Goodness, please can you borrow Lol’s random insult generator and make a remark that is at least funny. Reverting to pre-adolescent insults is dull. Unless of course you are aged 13 years or younger, in which case, please go and get your mother online. We need to talk to her.

  • R. P. McNicholson

    The problem with being sarcastic and elitist, is the same problem with being juvenile and an idiot. It is a kind of ‘us and them’ situation. The review is limiting in the sense that it only accounts for the ignorant fratboy and the snarky elitist. By disagreeing with the review you are there bye defending MacGruber and are therefore an idiot (elitist perspective), by appreciating this review you are a pseudo-intellectual bitter old lesbian harpy that menstruates (juvenile perspective). Both of these perspectives are equally alienating and narrow sighted, and is a cause for a lot of comments on an overall insignificant film, because every elitist knows that there will always be another trite moronic film that the juvenile idiot will go after and hold up as really funny (or even) great movie, thus reassuring the elitist in their own convictions.

  • @ Mr.(?) “lol”:

    I don’t know what my previous comment had to do with idiocy, I was asking a somewhat rhetorical question meant to evoke my surprise @ MaryAnn’s statement

  • Drave

    AHA! From zero to Godwin in under 100 comments! Is that a record for us?

    What I love is the people that assume you only like refined, intellectual movies based on this one review. I wonder how they would feel about your reviews for Wanted, Crank, Shoot Em Up, and even the first Transformers?

  • .

    Really? Transformers? Ok, I’m done here. I no longer feel the need to insult you. Now the internet can return to normal and this professional reviewer can go back to receiving 9 comments per post. Ciao.

  • Wow, awesome you actually put “elitist and condescending since 1997” on your header below the bias meter. Self-deprecation is a form of comedy.

  • GOOD OBSERVATION GENIUS

    “Self-deprecation is a form of comedy.” Good call! Cap’n Crunch is a cereal. Honda is a company. Apples are fruit!!!

  • wow, you really had nothing better to post than saying what I said was Obvious? Isn’t that an obvious observation on my obvious observation?
    What a waste of a text box dude….

  • you’re so right

    Gosh, we better save these text boxes, they may come in hand some day. Do not waste these valuable text boxes! ration them!

  • the aliens will find these text boxes and say who is this MacGruber? He must be the enemy of many here, we must align with him if we hope to enslave the human race!

  • mfan

    I did come across this review on Rotten Tomatoes.

    What’s wrong with being elitist and condescending?

    I really thought is was obvious this line was meant to precipitate discussion and maybe some soul searching. Instead the people responding to it simply could not come up with an intelligent reply. Sadly, this reinforces Mary Ann’s point that MacGruber is for idiots. Sorry.

  • amanohyo

    To sum up the complaints made by the defenders of this movie (and coincidentally the complaints on every comment thread of any negative review of a movie marketed primarily to manboys):

    1) MA doesn’t know how to write a review. The review is not funny.
    2) I am not a sexually stunted fratboy, and I liked this movie
    3) MA’s personal biases are expressed too strongly in the review
    4) MA’s personal biases should be stated more clearly in the review
    5) MA is a bitter, joyless, ugly old woman/lesbian who hates men
    6) MA shouldn’t review movies that she probably won’t like
    7) MA should stick to watching romantic comedies like SatC
    8) MA is an elitist who looks down on things that are juvenile and inane

    Most of these have already been addressed in MA’s responses above, but as we all know, many angry posters are not going to take the time to read them or even finish reading the review.

    If you are yet another angry internet stranger, please skim the points above, and take a moment to think through the common sense responses below:

    1) How many of her reviews have you read? Who are you to define what a movie review should or should not be?

    2) Why did you enjoy the movie? Which jokes were particularly effective? Are there any sophisticated or clever jokes that you would not have found funny when you were a teen?

    3) Is it possible to write a review completely free of any personal bias?

    4) Read a few more reviews. Look at the bias bar.

    5) Ad hominem, also David Tennant, George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr, and Liam Neeson beg to differ.

    6) But what if the movie ends up surprising her as some have? And once again, who are you to dictate what movies she can and cannot review?

    7) You are speaking from ignorance and outmoded sexism. Please read some of her reviews of popular romantic comedies.

    8) As she has already stated, this is a good thing. Is it even possible not to condescend to something this lowbrow? If you are an adult and you don’t consider yourself superior to this material, you have a severely underdeveloped sense of humor.

    If you still feel like complaining, I humbly request that you support your ideas with examples from the movie and/or the review itself (trust me, I don’t think anyone is going to care about spoilers) or at the very least, demonstrate that you’ve thought a step beyond the stale cookie cutter criticisms and ad hominem attacks listed above. We regular readers want to be entertained.

  • Annelise

    Oh. G., Ogre or whatever your polite handle is, too bad your civil debate skills end with the name. It surprises me how easily flustered and threatened frat boys types are by such little things, (though being threatened by KNOWING so little doesn’t). Thanks OG, for proving the point about the boorishness. Now here comes your next subtle argument of, “I know you are, but what am I!” (Btw, “Omega Theta Pi,” is a movie reference, seeing as this thread is supposed to be about film and measuring the strengths of MacGruber to his genre. “He” must fall Very Short…since MAJ can show how thin its jokes are. It is easily reduced by mocking).

  • Drave

    amanohyo: I applaud your attempt, but I am pretty sure the target audience for your comment will be too intimidated by the number of syllables in the words you are using, and they won’t take from it anything beyond “Hurrr… look at the nerd!”

  • I really thought is was obvious this line was meant to precipitate discussion and maybe some soul searching.Instead the people responding to it simply could not come up with an intelligent reply. Sadly, this reinforces Mary Ann’s point that MacGruber is for idiots. Sorry.

    She could have used better phrasing, but hey, we’re human :-)

    I liked the review, but I may still go see it, as I said earlier:

    I’m going to have to disagree with Mike and say that that review is awesomely creatively sarcastic, but I will say also that just because someone wants to see these type of slapstick comedies often referred to as “stupid comedies”, does not mean that that person is dumb or immature. The Jackass movies(only saw jackass 2) were full of stupid things, but they were funny(it was too gross though… I wouldn’t watch it again). Strange example, I know, my point is that stupid is funny and seeing a movie full of people who act ultra stupid or juvenile, isn’t going to dumb down one’s intelligence, although overexposure may

  • Knightgee

    I’m nearly drunk off of the huge amounts of whine in this comments section. It becomes woefully clear that these people didn’t even bother to look at other reviews on this site before spewing their misogynistic vitriol, otherwise they would know that Maryann loves a good action movie and a good screwball comedy, emphasis on “good”. MacGruber clearly is not “good” then. Though it is amazing the lengths some people will go to when justifying their poor taste.

  • Oh my! All these comments on a thread that has nothing to do with religion, politics, Stephanie Meyer, Doctor Who, Star Wars, Sex and the City or any of the other usual topics of controversy on this site. Who would have guessed?

    I’d go make popcorn too but my eyes are starting to glaze over from all the “classy” comments.

  • LaSargenta

    @ Der Bruno: Your post at http://www.flickfilosopher.com/blog/2010/05/052110macgruber_review.html#comment-62257 made me cackle and now I want to have your internetz babies.

  • This is sad

    This comment section is unbalanced. The idiots are too idiotic, and the non-idiots are too sure that they’re “winning” this “debate.” Or maybe that means it is balanced?

  • Dre in Spain

    This is a debate? oh.. I thought it was a “point and laugh at the trolls” session.

  • moh456

    OK deconstructing MacGruber jokes is not something I thought I’d be doing today (or any day) but well.. here we are.

    You write: “MacGruber may put together his “distraction” from random items found in a trash can, but what items the writers put in his hands is far from “random.””

    This is bordering on obtuse. The entire point of the joke is that MacGruber DIDN’T put together his distraction using the random items in the trash can. The audience is expecting him to assemble something ingenious from these items in the way his quasi namesake would’ve. A bomb, maybe, that comically backfires. Instead, he does about the most ridiculously inept thing possible– discard every item but the celery stick, which he puts in his posterior and hops around naked in front of the guards. If you think that was the writers going for a “gay” joke, you’re wrong. (By the way, it would never even occur to me that gay men would put celery sticks in their rectums and hop around– I can’t picture a single gay or straight person I know doing that)

    The fact that you seem to have seen multiple “gay” jokes in the movie makes me think either we watched different movies or you’re projecting some of your own insecurities. The only real anti-gay joke in the movie comes when MacGruber crosses off one of his team from the list after discovering he’s gay– and the joke there wasn’t that MacGruber is awesome for being homophobic, it’s simply one of literally dozens of examples of MacGruber being an asshole. I mean, for better or worse most of the movie is him acting inappropriately, and nobody in the audience (but your imagined frat boy) is cheering his homophobia on. They certainly aren’t intended to.

    What are these other “gay” jokes? Another commenter did a nice job desconstructing the scene (scenes, actually) where MacGruber offers sexual favors to people (who are men) in exchange for keeping him on the team. Again, these are not jokes that get their humor from something being “gay” but from the fact that MacGruber’s bargaining strategy seems to go from zero to dick sucking almost immediately, in just about any given situation. Do you think that if the head officer character had been a female, the writers wouldn,t have had MacGruber offer her sexual favors?

    I want to reemphasize that your response isn’t “ridiculous” for not liking the movie, and I don’t think you should be embarrassed by any of it. It just seems like you may be overly sensitive to mockery of gays, and this might have caused you to misinterpret a few (or more) of the jokes in a way that they weren’t intended. There are plenty of stupid boorish comedies that do get their laughs at the expense of gays– the firefighter movie with Adam Sandler and Kevin James, to take one particularly stupid and offensive example. But MacGruber, whether you think its brand of humor is funny or not, isn’t one of them.

  • Julie

    Holy fucking shit.

    I don’t always agree with MaryAnn (see LOST Blogging), but WOW. I love that this apparently terrible review of an apparently terrible movie is getting so much attention.

    I have a question MaryAnn, is this some kind of record for comments? If it isn’t, what post/review holds the top spot?

    But back to the issue. It’s kind of telling that in order to point how how “wrong” MaryAnn is, people have lowered the discourse to the point of calling her a lesbian, like it’s an insult. I mean you don’t even follow it up with an insincere “Not that there’s anything wrong with that!”
    I wonder what they really take issue with: The fact that this review is unconventional or the opinion it expresses.

    I can’t stop laughing that this post has over 100 comments.

  • frankie

    I was in a coffee shop this morning & heard this review recited by some assclown that saw the movie last night. Sadly, he was serious. Those of you ripping on the review for over then top sarcasm don’t know the half of it.

    She got it 100% right according to the 20-something frat turd at the coffee shop.

  • MaryAnn

    but from the fact that MacGruber’s bargaining strategy seems to go from zero to dick sucking almost immediately

    But why zero to dick sucking? Why not zero to something else? Why not zero to “I will paint your house”? Because dick sucking, in this context, is perceived of as debasing, as making the dick sucker inferior, as making the dick sucker less than a man. Look: Who sucks dicks? Women and queers. Not “real” men.

    (Or would you care to argue that MacGruber is actually deeply in love with those whose dicks he offers to suck, hence rendering his offer one of great love and great desire to give great pleasure to the object of his love?)

    Yes, I get that the joke is on MacGruber. But you still have to think that the joke that is on him is funny to, you know, find it funny.

    Do you think that if the head officer character had been a female, the writers wouldn,t have had MacGruber offer her sexual favors?

    Okay, then why wasn’t there a scene like that?

    (By the way, it would never even occur to me that gay men would put celery sticks in their rectums and hop around– I can’t picture a single gay or straight person I know doing that)

    For Christ’s sake, of course I don’t assume that shoving celery up one’s ass is standard behavior for gays. But fear of having something shoved up one’s ass does seem to be the standard homo-terror.

    you’re projecting some of your own insecurities.

    Except I’m not insecure about or threatened by male homosexuality. I don’t find it “shocking” — as Tyler Foster suggested above was the reason the gay kiss scene is supposedly hilarious — that some men find other men sexually attractive, or that a man who is big and strong and scary looking could be gay. I don’t give a shit who anybody sleeps with, and I assume neither that all gay men are stereotypical mincing queens not that all big butch guys are straight. But the tenor of many of the jokes in this film is concerned with tweaking the fear of Teh Gay that many people seem to have. Whatever other rationale you can come up with to deconstruct these jokes, they still rely on fear or discomfort with homosexuality and tittering at the idea that people poop.

    It just seems like you may be overly sensitive to mockery of gays

    Maybe some people need to be more sensitive to such.

  • MaryAnn

    She got it 100% right according to the 20-something frat turd at the coffee shop.

    No! Seriously?

  • MaryAnn

    I have a question MaryAnn, is this some kind of record for comments? If it isn’t, what post/review holds the top spot?

    We’re nowhere near a record yet. Horton Hears a Who has 223 comments at the moment. I think there’s a recent post with over 300 comments, but I can’t remember which one it was…

    It’s kind of telling that in order to point how how “wrong” MaryAnn is, people have lowered the discourse to the point of calling her a lesbian, like it’s an insult.

    I’m always deeply mystified by these kinds of comments. Perhaps these frat boys cannot imagine that there’s no straight woman who wouldn’t find their mindset so irresistible magnetic that she wouldn’t instantly throw her clothes off to be fucked by them? So therefore any woman who does not kowtow to frat boys *must* be a lesbian?

  • Knightgee

    It just seems like you may be overly sensitive to mockery of gays.

    Ironic,given that the comments against this review are likely straight men whining about being portrayed as stereotypical frat-bros for liking this turd of a film. It just seems like you all may be overly sensitive to mockery of sexually stunted frat boys.

  • ugh..

    “People” have called her a lesbian? I counted one person who called her a “pretentious lesbian.” Please stop trying to act like anybody in here is making fun of homosexuals.

  • Knightgee

    “People” have called her a lesbian? I counted one person who called her a “pretentious lesbian.” Please stop trying to act like anybody in here is making fun of homosexuals.

    I think 1 person counts as “anybody”.

  • MaryAnn

    Well, I’m either a lesbian, a virgin, or a washed-up old hag mom.

    I wish they’d make up their minds.

    In any event, I am most definitely not the kind of hot brainless pneumatically enhanced babe that any of these frat boys would bang for free on a Satuday night.

    For which I will be forever grateful.

  • ugh…

    except i don’t think that one person was even making fun of gay people. he said that she “comes off as a pretentious lesbian” because quite frankly she does. Every chance to cut down anything masculine or “manly” she will take. Anytime somebody says the word “dick” or “cock” she acts like we’re viciously assaulting homosexuals. She has just as many stereotypes cemented into her mind about straight men as she imagines “frat turds” do about gays. On that note, I have a friend in a fraternity who is also gay. I’ll link this review to his facebook.

  • ugh…

    by the way MA, absolutely zero people called you a virgin. Nice job embellishing once again.

  • moh456

    Why not zero to “I will paint your house”?

    Besides the fact that it’s supposed to be a comedy? Yes, prostituting oneself is debasing and offering to do so immediately at any given opportunity is absurd– which is the joke. It doesn’t matter whether its gay or straight sex, except that it’s slightly more extreme for an ostensibly straight MacGruber to go directly to gay prostitution. Why didn’t they actually have him offer to prostitute himself to a female character? I don’t know, why didn’t they have any number of scenes that would have assuaged your indignence? In a sample size of two it’s not the evidence of anti-gay sentiment you seem to be hoping for.

    “Fear of having something shoved up one’s ass does seem to be the standard homo terror”

    I can’t believe you’re still pursuing this one. This is simply not a gay joke.

    You continue to assert that there are “many” jokes that rely on discomfort with homosexuality, but haven’t offered any other examples in a movie that was not quite 90 minutes. Again, I don’t care that you don’t find the movie funny. I’m defending it more because your review and responses combine disdain and condescension with a fundamental misunderstanding of the subject matter. Having read some other reviews, there seem to be plenty of reasons for people to dislike the movie without inventing anti-gay slights.

  • MaryAnn

    She has just as many stereotypes cemented into her mind about straight men as she imagines “frat turds” do about gays.

    I love how some appear to take “sexually stunted frat boy” as a synonym for “all men.”

    And *I’m* the one who hates men?

  • It has nothing to do with inferior or superior, in my mind. Why does one person sucking dick make them the inferior one? This seems to me to be the heart of the whole issue. As a non-homophobic person, I don’t see why the dick-sucker is inferior, and therefore I don’t see the joke as homophobic. I think you are taking that angle as a given when it comes to this joke, and I don’t think it is.

    Plus, the movie beat you to the punch on this one, because MacGruber also offers to let the second party to be the dick-sucker.

    I said “shock value” but I meant more like a non-sequitur. The idea is that dick sucking is an out-of-left field offer in the scenarios in which he offers it, to people who are not likely to take him up on it/interested in such a thing, since I doubt either of them have expressed any interest in it. I mean, Piper already thoroughly hates him at that point in the movie.

    Ironic,given that the comments against this review are likely straight men whining about being portrayed as stereotypical frat-bros for liking this turd of a film. It just seems like you all may be overly sensitive to mockery of sexually stunted frat boys.

    Did you see the film?

    Anyone frat boy who rushes on to defend MacGruber while perpetuating the stereotypes is on the exact footing as anyone who openly bashes specific things about MacGruber without having seen it. Both are guilty of blindly defending something without taking the time to properly consider the facts.

    I don’t mean to pick on you specifically, Knightgee, but I agree with moh456 that some people who agree with MaryAnn in this thread are developing an air of superiority about it. Just because you’re smarter than someone else doesn’t make it any nicer to flaunt it. They call MaryAnn a “bitter old harpy” and a lesbian, the posters shoot back that they’re cretins and “assclowns”. It’s the same insult-flinging.

    Being even-handed means listening to even the dumbest people and responding with logic.

  • This line of discussion has inspired more questions than it has answered for me.

    1: Is the 96 Saab a good or bad car?
    2: Did Nick read her review of the first Sex in the City movie?
    3: Does Tyler Foster actually believe his defense of the movie with such examples will encourage me to go?
    4: Do the defenders of this movie actually believe it merits a serious review of its plot or characters?
    5: Perhaps Mary Ann was imitating drunk frat boys, who would probably enjoy the movie even more than sober ones?
    6: Are you, Mary Ann, menstruating right now? (What does that have to do with anything? Back off man, I’m a frat boy.)

  • Knightgee

    Anyone frat boy who rushes on to defend MacGruber while perpetuating the stereotypes is on the exact footing as anyone who openly bashes specific things about MacGruber without having seen it.

    No, they are not equal. One involves attacking the quality of the movie. The other involves attacking the reviewer as a person. There is no equivocation there. And I’m not going to feign respect and civility for people whose first instinct upon seeing opinions they don’t like is to resort to cheap sexist attacks that call her a lesbian, a harpy, or other such nonsense. That act causes them to lose in my mind any right to respectful response. It is not an “air” of superiority to treat insipid morons like insipid morons. I’m not concerned with being even-handed and it reeks of all kinds of privilege to think I or Maryann herself “have to” be even-handed in the treatment of people who have done nothing but insult and demean her on her own website and who jump to ridiculous and often sexist assumptions about her without knowing anything about her or her previous reviews. It takes major arrogance to come into someone else’s space and think you can demand that they treat you a certain way. For all this talk about how the defenders of Maryann and Maryann herself have an air of superiority, it is individuals who have come here thinking they can make demands of her as a critic and person that have the actual unearned air of superiority.

    As for the “jokes” not being homophpobic. When your “joke” is that MacGruber is willing to “lower” himself by sucking a man’s dick whenever he is in the slightest trouble, this establishes that he is a crappy hero and it establishes that the act of dick-sucking is a demeaning act meant to be laughed at. It’s very homophobic and misogynistic because who sucks dick, typically? Gay men and straight women, the strong implication being that MacGruber is weakened as a hero by becoming like those two types of people. This is obvious to anyone, pointing out that other reviewers didn’t note it does not negate this. Not wanting the guy that is gay on your team? Homophobia as a form of “humor”. Maryann has already outlined why all these things and more are clearly homophobic, but people persist with obtuseness and with their direct insults of the reviewer.

  • Knightgee

    he said that she “comes off as a pretentious lesbian” because quite frankly she does.

    What does a “pretentious lesbian” do or say? I would like to know which sexist, homophobic, bigotted stereotypes you and the other guy are drawing on to justify calling her this.

  • Joe

    I’m glad you liked the review, Christopher, but can you please point out where other professional critics post such disclaimers? In fact, can you point out *any* professional critic who is as upfront as I am, with my Bias Meter, about my biases?

    Roger Ebert often gives disclaimers or warnings explaining why he gives certain movies such low ratings. See his review for Kick-Ass.

    Also I read a bit on Google news where you basically were saying you fully expect MacGruber to fail. Do you often write reviews with such a deadset opinion of a movie BEFORE you even watch it?

  • Thank you for comparing Mary Ann to Roger Ebert.

  • Knightgee

    Also I read a bit on Google news where you basically were saying you fully expect MacGruber to fail. Do you often write reviews with such a deadset opinion of a movie BEFORE you even watch it?

    Ah yes, that ever-so-false notion that critics MUST be objective. Most people go into movies with an idea about it’s quality or anticipating how good/bad it will be. Any reviewer who says otherwise is a bit of a liar. It’s entirely possible that she could have been dreading the movie, only to find it enjoyable and give it a good review had it actually been a good film, as she has been surprised like that in the past just like she has also wanted to enjoy films that ended up sucking (she was anticipating Robin Hood I believe and she hated it). Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good film, it didn’t surprise her and so it got a bad review. Thems the breaks. I would like to know why so many people care so much what one critic says about a movie that they have to resort to petty insults and long-winded arguments over it. Are people so insecure in their own opinions that they can’t let someone else adamantly dislike something that they like?

  • No, they are not equal. One involves attacking the quality of the movie. The other involves attacking the reviewer as a person. […] And I’m not going to feign respect and civility for people whose first instinct upon seeing opinions they don’t like is to resort to cheap sexist attacks that call her a lesbian, a harpy, or other such nonsense. That act causes them to lose in my mind any right to respectful response.

    Okay, that may be how it starts, but I guess it seems like you think that makes it okay to turn the tables on them. I get why, but two wrongs still don’t make a right.

    It is not an “air” of superiority to treat insipid morons like insipid morons. I’m not concerned with being even-handed and it reeks of all kinds of privilege to think I or Maryann herself “have to” be even-handed in the treatment of people who have done nothing but insult and demean her on her own website and who jump to ridiculous and often sexist assumptions about her without knowing anything about her or her previous reviews.

    What I’m referring to is people going, “oh, look at the sad little fratboys. How predictable. What a shame that they’ll never learn”. I don’t think I was ever a “fratboy” as defined by this thread, but I used to think less about the things I saw in movies. It’s reading sites like MaryAnn’s that educates a person on the way other people view the actions of others, both in real life and in movies, and that helped me look at what I see differently. There are lots and lots of people out there where trying to educate is futile, but you’re only re-affirming their beliefs when you use their tactics against them.

    I think the debate is interesting, and I never insulted MaryAnn, but because I called you out, you seem to have lumped me in with the others (or at least, that’s what I felt from the tone of your response).

    As for the “jokes” not being homophpobic. When your “joke” is that MacGruber is willing to “lower” himself by sucking a man’s dick whenever he is in the slightest trouble, this establishes that he is a crappy hero and it establishes that the act of dick-sucking is a demeaning act meant to be laughed at. It’s very homophobic and misogynistic because who sucks dick, typically? Gay men and straight women, the strong implication being that MacGruber is weakened as a hero by becoming like those two types of people. This is obvious to anyone, pointing out that other reviewers didn’t note it does not negate this.

    This is indicative of the problem I’m trying to point out, without insulting anyone. I bolded the one part nobody within the movie makes any reference to dick-sucking being an act in which the dick-sucker is required to lower themselves, or that only inferior people suck dick. As someone who hasn’t seen the movie, you don’t seem to be aware that you are repeating MaryAnn’s view of what happens as presented in an earlier comment, not objectively describing the scene in the movie. You may see the movie and think the same as MaryAnn, but it is not an implicit part of the movie that dick-sucking is an action for inferior or lesser people, and that is why there is a debate at all.

    Does Tyler Foster actually believe his defense of the movie with such examples will encourage me to go?

    I’m trying to explain that the film is not homophobic, not that it’s going to be funny to everyone. I only chuckled at these particular jokes, but I’ll still defend them against something I think is untrue or unfair.

  • Tim

    Let’s face it: MacGruber looks terrible, from just the trailer alone. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure this out. So it shouldn’t be too surprising, then, that a movie critic is, well, _critical_ of this film.

    As for MaryAnn’s review, the faux reviewer admittedly seems more like a 14-year old still culturally-intoxicated from his first trip to Hooter’s rather than a frat boy, but otherwise the review is spot on. It’s also clear that she put more creative effort into her review than did the army of writers who unleashed this “steaming-turd-of-a-film”(TM) upon the public.

    The shame of it is that MacGyver is a fitting subject for parody. I just think it should have been left to the professionals–Joel, Crow, Tom Servo and Gypsy.

  • Knightgee

    but you’re only re-affirming their beliefs when you use their tactics against them.

    I’m not interested in convincing them that they are wrong, because it is not my job or anyone else’s here to educate these guys and they’ve made it rather clear that they haven’t actually come here for education.

    I bolded the one part nobody within the movie makes any reference to dick-sucking being an act in which the dick-sucker is required to lower themselves.

    Oh please, it takes someone completely ignorant to cultural context to think that isn’t what the writers were going for. If it weren’t, there’d be no point to it as a means of “humor”.

  • leave her alone… it’s her opinion.

    laughed pretty damn long and hard at MacGruber, not so much this review. and i’m as intelligent as they come. i think shit and gay people can be hilarious, just like i think anything can be hilarious in the right light, and completely unfunny in the wrong light. but equally funny to me was the film’s manipulation of the unexpected and random. that’s the language of modern humor. woe the day when i need my laughs to be politically correct.

  • MaryAnn

    nobody within the movie makes any reference to dick-sucking being an act in which the dick-sucker is required to lower themselves, or that only inferior people suck dick.

    But no one in the movie makes any reference, either, to guys who like 80s soft rock being laughable. And yet it’s there in the entire attitude of the film.

    As a non-homophobic person, I don’t see why the dick-sucker is inferior, and therefore I don’t see the joke as homophobic.

    I believe that you are not a homophobe, Tyler. But I submit that you are not appreciating the cultural context in which this movie was created and in which it is offered to audiences.

  • I’m not interested in convincing them that they are wrong, because it is not my job or anyone else’s here to educate these guys and they’ve made it rather clear that they haven’t actually come here for education.

    Yes, but some of the worst ones come here with the unconscious hope that people will play into their tactics. If you don’t want to help, I don’t see how returning fire is helpful.

    Oh please, it takes someone completely ignorant to cultural context to think that isn’t what the writers were going for. If it weren’t, there’d be no point to it as a means of “humor”.

    I’ve already explained that I fully believe the joke is a non-sequitur, and past efforts from the same filmmakers (like the deranged Hot Rod, which does things like turn into an impromptu dance remix edit of two characters saying “cool beans” and show a guy falling down a hill for almost three straight minutes) back up this argument.

    I maintain your view of this as a given requires you to “fill in the blanks” on the execution of the joke, both in the writing, directing, and performance.

    But no one in the movie makes any reference, either, to guys who like 80s soft rock being laughable. And yet it’s there in the entire attitude of the film.

    That’s not entirely true! Several people make fun of MacGruber’s style and the fact that he carries around his 8-track player.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    MacGruber looks terrible, from just the trailer alone. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure this out.

    Good thing…

  • Knightgee

    woe the day when i need my laughs to be politically correct.

    Yeah, then writers and comedians might have to actually exercise a brain cell or two and get creative and clever with their humor instead of relying on tired and often offensive cliches and stereotypes as a source of “humor”. Hollywood would surely die the moment this happens. Woe indeed.

  • Muzz

    Wowsers. I was thinking the review itself wasn’t quite as on point in its characterisation as it could have been. But now I’ve seen the comments I think some sort of meta-review is actually at work here. Say something disparaging about the contemporary ‘sense of humour’ in these bawdy low brow comedies and *bang*, the genre reviews itself.

    Criticising dumb comedies is getting to be worse than drawing Muhammad.

    I know fandom broadly is fairly prickly about disagreement, particularly on the internet. But the modern day lad/frat boy culture is somehow moreso to my eye. They’re so emotionally precious and entitled, despite viewing themselves as Men who are above that sort of thing. They can do their boys-will-be-boys act, enjoy poo jokes and bodily fluid humour forever and a day, employ and enjoy casual sexism and even racism to their hearts content. The most anyone ought to do in response is shake their head and be silent at worst, particularly women, or laugh at and adore their antics.
    Dare to call them on how stupid it all is, though, and holy crap. Bleat-storm!

  • Drave

    Say something disparaging about the contemporary ‘sense of humour’ in these bawdy low brow comedies and *bang*, the genre reviews itself.

    Okay, you win the silver trophy of this thread.

  • Jade Fox

    Wow, so many comments.

    I didn’t think people liked the MacGruber skits THAT much especially considering that it’s opening weekend is only estimated to be $4 million.

    I noticed that whenever people get heated over MaryAnn’s reviews it’s usually because she struck a big nerve that they don’t want to admit. Great example? Her Knocked Up review.

    As for the movie itself? I’ll wait for cable. SNL movies usually aren’t good to begin with and I’m being very conscious of my movie dollars this year.

  • Alex

    It’s not even about the comedic value of the review. It was actually pretty informative about the sense of humor Macgruber is going to have and it’s surprising to see people come out to defend that kind of movie. I didn’t know the brief SNL skit had so many fans!

    I’ve only been frequenting this site for a year but I know Mary Ann doesn’t make a secret about what she finds funny or not. And why should she? Humor is subjective and to pretend to be unbiased about surely feels dishonest. In the “Oh, you might like this if you’re not in my demographic” is a weak, irritating concession that serves no one.

  • Robin

    It is both hilarious and sad that the people who are most confident about their intelligence, taste, and maturity are those who don’t have enough of any of the above to accurately self-assess.

    Person 1: Only juvenile, privileged idiots would like [consumer product x]

    Person 2: *proudly* NUH-UH! I like [consumer product x]

    Person 1: *waits for it sink in*

    Person 2: *orgasmically rolls around in delicious, delicious misogyny*

  • Shadowen

    So, would it be an insult to say to someone, [was You’re] Your face looks like an ice cream sundae? People should not have faces that look like ice cream sundaes, either.

    Yup. Although now that I think about it, such would usually be taken in, say, a romantic comedy as a compliment.

    Hrrm. Point taken. One should have to dislike something before likening someone’s features to it can be an insult.

  • JoshB

    I bolded the one part nobody within the movie makes any reference to dick-sucking being an act in which the dick-sucker is required to lower themselves.

    No one within the movie has to say that. The audience is expected to bring that attitude with them.

    I get where you’re coming from Tyler. You don’t see anything inferior about sucking dick, and you still found the joke funny. That’s fair. But you are not all people. Think about it for a moment. If you hear a straight guy tell another straight guy to “suck my dick” do you think that’s a sincere request or an effort to debase?

    Read this. That’s your cultural context right there.

    Do you think it’s possible that the filmmakers chose to make a dick sucking joke instead of a pussy eating joke because they figured it would be more humiliating?

  • hee! Ah, the trolling. I can’t wait for the next bad religious-themed movie to come out…

  • Honestly, I think the writers of this movie just think impromptu dick-sucking offers are funny. Again, these are the guys behind Hot Rod. Non-sequiturs are part of their usual M.O. I imagine even if a woman had been the person in question, he still would have offered to suck their dick.

    The question is: how much should a filmmaker be held responsible for using a joke that is likely to be misinterpreted?

    In a somewhat recent movie called Sex Drive, James Marsden played an asshole homophobe named Rex. His character believed patently absurd things, like not getting a girlfriend for too long was how people “wind up gettin’ gay.” In the third act of the movie, the main character Ian is cornered by Rex because Ian steals Rex’s car to go meet a girl. Ian slips out of this predicament by insinuating that he was catching homosexuality. In my opinion, for this joke to make any sense, the audience has to understand that Rex is a moron, and Ian is sarcastically playing on Rex’s idiocy. Beyond that, the performances of the two actors (particularly Marsden, who is way over-the-top) and the writing of the scene all scream “broad comedy”, and the butt of the joke are people who are prejudiced like Rex. But (regardless of whether anyone who reads this liked the movie or not — whether or not it’s funny, like the joke in MacGruber, is not the point being debated), do other audiences see that, and if they don’t, is that something we should blame the writer/directors for?

  • MaryAnn

    Honestly, I think the writers of this movie just think impromptu dick-sucking offers are funny.

    Yes, the writers probably honestly DO find this funny. The question is WHY they find that funny. What’s funny about dick sucking?

    Non-sequiturs are part of their usual M.O.

    But these dick-sucking jokes are NOT non sequiturs.

    The question is: how much should a filmmaker be held responsible for using a joke that is likely to be misinterpreted?

    Unfortunately, Tyler, I think you’re the only one misinterpreting it.

  • Kaeto Boeshaine

    Mary Ann rules ass on all the HATERZZ!! She tells them to shove in up whatever hole, ‘internet style.’ No one can compete with her internet comment debate. She doesn’t seem out of touch or miserable at all!!!!

  • amanohyo

    Uh, Kaeto, when did she tell anyone to shove anything “up whatever hole?” even figuratively? Penetration is not an apt metaphor for rational debate in this case. Your last sentence suggests you are being sarcastic, but it’s mostly accurate.

    Even if we assume for the sake of argument that a person is “out of touch” and miserable (and there’s little evidence to indicate that here), so what? Just as plenty of hip, joyful people have bland, worthless opinions, there are quite a few out of touch grouches who have interesting ideas to contribute.

  • Whoops! From the number of comments, I thought this was gonna be an atheism thread. My mistake. Carry on…

    I think there’s a recent post with over 300 comments, but I can’t remember which one it was…

    That would be, er, an atheism thread. :-)

    You missed an opportunity here, MaryAnn. If you could have somehow worked in a religion vs. atheism argument in your review, this could have been a monster 1000-post thread with RT fratboys, believers, and atheists having some wild cross-conversations…

  • I’m curious how many of the commentors actually saw the movie itself.

    I went to a free screening with my girlfriend, and we had a horrible communications breakdown because both of us wanted to walk out on it early, but neither of us told the other one. So instead, we ended up staying through the end, each of us dreading the experience, and hoping it might get better toward the end.

    What MAJ’s review fails to express is just how bad of a movie it is, regardless of the appropriateness of the jokes. I’m an educated, literate male, and I wasn’t so much offended by all the poop and sex jokes as I was by the fact that SO MANY of the jokes were sex and poop jokes.

    Add obnoxious characters, poor pacing, and a director with no idea how to put together a feature-length movie, and you get a one-star experience.

    And a five-star comment thread.

  • Feh

    M-A hates juvenile movies as much as she hates juvenile audiences. There’s nothing wrong with preferring smart over dumb.

    And it’s silly to get all flustered and upset at a reviewer for declaring that a dumb movie is dumb. The fact that the movie is *intentionally* dumb does not alter the fact that it is dumb.

    That said, I’m curious about M-A’s opinion of classic dumb movies, such as Airplane, The Jerk, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

  • Ogami Itto

    This comments thread is certainly more entertaining than any of the commercials that I’ve seen for MacGruber. Where do this movie’s defenders come from? Honestly.

  • MaryAnn

    Just as plenty of hip, joyful people have bland, worthless opinions, there are quite a few out of touch grouches who have interesting ideas to contribute.

    I guess it’s out of bounds to call myself “hip,” but I can certainly call myself mostly joyful. And I’m delighted to be out of touch with people who genuinely enjoyed this film.

    I wasn’t so much offended by all the poop and sex jokes as I was by the fact that SO MANY of the jokes were sex and poop jokes.

    I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: I don’t object per se to jokes involving poop and sex, I just want them to be about more than, “Eww, shit!” and “Gross: sex!” Such jokes are rare — *Caddyshack*’s “doody in the pool” bit pokes fun at juvenile fascination/fear of poop, and *Shaun of the Dead* has a fart joke that is about how some guys use grossout humor as a way to express feelings for one another they cannot otherwise express — but that doesn’t mean they’re impossible.

    I would welcome a Hollywood movie that was funny about sex in a grownup way — yes, it’s often weird and strange and bizarre at the same time it’s wonderful — without getting all grossed out by body parts and fluids. *Team America*’s puppet sex scene is hilarious because it sends up how wooden most sex scenes in Hollywood films are.

    That said, I’m curious about M-A’s opinion of classic dumb movies, such as Airplane, The Jerk, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

    I would start off by disagreeing with your characterization of these movies: they are NOT dumb, though they can probably be enjoyed purely on a dumb level.

    But I’m trying to review more classic films, and I’ll put those toward the top of the list to review.

  • Yes, the writers probably honestly DO find this funny. The question is WHY they find that funny. What’s funny about dick sucking?

    But these dick-sucking jokes are NOT non sequiturs.

    They may not be the purest of non-sequiturs, but I think it’s a flatly ludicrous proposal based on the setting, the suddenness of the offer, and MacGruber’s bizarre pre-dedication to the idea. I know you don’t see it, but the “just don’t fire me, man“-style sorrow in MacGruber’s voice when he is pleading with Piper (the exact same kind a kid uses when you take a treat away from them) just says it all to me: he would use this to get out of parking tickets, jury duty, eviction, whatever.

    Where do this movie’s defenders come from? Honestly.This is a particularly frustrating scenario to have to argue in. I’m sure everyone who is anti-MacGruber in this thread would hate it if they saw it, but I still think it’s not the movie people are claiming it is. Take Gordon, for example. I have no idea how many sex jokes there are in the movie, but I can state with reasonable confidence in my memory that there are exactly four poop jokes in the movie (one mentioned by MacGruber at a party and a subsequent callback, one on a notepad, and one from MacGruber on a backyard porch). It probably won’t change anyone’s mind about these jokes, but it is worth noting that there is not a single piece of poop shown on-screen in the movie, nor any fart sounds that I can remember. The jokes are purely dialogue-based, and in my opinion, three of them are not about poop itself as a punchline (the first two are really about the term “upper decker” and MacGruber’s brain-dead notion of revenge, and the notepad joke is more about the Se7en-like obsessiveness MacGruber has over a license plate).

    MacGruber is absolutely not a masterpiece, and absolutely a crude, foulmouthed, low-brow comedy, but aside from MaryAnn, who I know has actually seen it and seems to listen to my endless responses, I really think the commenters might want to be careful about the way they respond to movies like this. You don’t have to see MacGruber, but there is a risk that people are becoming one-sided, which is exactly what they accuse the genuine “fratboys” in this thread of doing.

  • ergh. fixed.

    Where do this movie’s defenders come from? Honestly.

    This is a particularly frustrating scenario to have to argue in. I’m sure everyone who is anti-MacGruber in this thread would hate it if they saw it, but I still think it’s not the movie people are claiming it is. Take Gordon, for example. I have no idea how many sex jokes there are in the movie, but I can state with reasonable confidence in my memory that there are exactly four poop jokes in the movie (one mentioned by MacGruber at a party and a subsequent callback, one on a notepad, and one from MacGruber on a backyard porch). It probably won’t change anyone’s mind about these jokes, but it is worth noting that there is not a single piece of poop shown on-screen in the movie, nor any fart sounds that I can remember. The jokes are purely dialogue-based, and in my opinion, three of them are not about poop itself as a punchline (the first two are really about the term “upper decker” and MacGruber’s brain-dead notion of revenge, and the notepad joke is more about the Se7en-like obsessiveness MacGruber has over a license plate).
    MacGruber is absolutely not a masterpiece, and absolutely a crude, foulmouthed, low-brow comedy, but aside from MaryAnn, who I know has actually seen it and seems to listen to my endless responses, I really think the commenters might want to be careful about the way they respond to movies like this. You don’t have to see MacGruber, but there is a risk that people are becoming one-sided, which is exactly what they accuse the genuine “fratboys” in this thread of doing.

  • I guess the gist of the point I’m making here is that I’ve seen two movies where characters eat poop, and it was overwhelmingly unpleasant. I’m not defending poop jokes as a whole, just like MaryAnn says. I think the MacGruber jokes are about more than just poop or gay sex as comedy.

  • iakobos

    WOW MaryAnn, I had no idea how many frat boys read your website. I enjoyed the sarcasm in your review. I’ll never pay to see McGruber or rent it but if I ever catch it on cable I may watch it just see what all the fuss is about.

    Regarding your efforts to review older movies, I look forward to that.

  • MaSch

    Feh: MaryAnn’s review is already online (since 2001):

    http://www.flickfilosopher.com/blog/2001/05/monty_python_and_the_holy_grai.html

  • I dug Magruber for the absurd over the top comedy it was, but not to the point of defending it. Even while watching it, I could feel people not liking the movie for the type of humor it presents, and that’s understandable. I personally got annoyed with the swearing, as I felt it relied too much on it as a safety net (using the F word will generally pop the audience if put in a random sentence).

    However, while I like Macgruber, I won’t watch EVERY stupid comedy. Case in point: I am avoiding Grown Ups like the plague.

  • Ogami Itto

    This is a particularly frustrating scenario to have to argue in. I’m sure everyone who is anti-MacGruber in this thread would hate it if they saw it, but I still think it’s not the movie people are claiming it is.

    If you like the movie more power to you; unlike some of the posters here you seem reasonable and civil. And God knows I’ve seen and enjoyed plenty of movies that weren’t exactly cinematic gems (*cough* “Underworld” series *cough*). What I don’t understand is the fervor with which people argue the merits of a film when it really doesn’t have any, or why people get so hostile when someone else doesn’t like what they like.

    MAJ hated the KILL BILL movies, and I really liked them, but I never felt compelled to insult her or others who disliked them. Complaining about a movie reviewer giving her opinion about a movie is just silly.

  • Albert Hahn

    Cunth and fuck and anal celery are minor parts of the movie and simply ignorable.
    Unless you have an agenda
    and want to hint that the whole movie is about that.
    My least favorite genre is action so I guess
    I react very favorably to action spoofs.
    The Phillippe character is perfect to balance
    the over the top Forte.
    I loved Wiig in a small role.
    Good writing, except for using the “pound some cunth” twice, which was once (or twice) too often.
    The “I’ll suck your dick” ploy was also used twice.
    The point of this was that Magruber was so stupid
    that he thought this obviously detestable (to him)
    deed should be automatically accepted as a way
    to get his way in the Pentagon, as if he’s offering
    a blow job to a drug dealer for some
    desperately craved meth.
    A few more people chiming in and this
    review will have more debate
    than health care reform.
    Hey, MaryAnn, you have Goodfellas, Repo Man,
    The Rutles and 2 Marx Brothers movies on your
    Top 100 list so we do have a little
    comedy appreciation in common!

  • amanohyo

    Albert, do you remember any specific examples of good writing? Which jokes made you laugh the most? How does the movie compare to the first Austin Powers?

  • MaSch

    Goodfellas, Repo Man,
    The Rutles and 2 Marx Brothers movies

    One of these things is not like the other things … I’m reminded of a scene from “The Naked Gun”, where Frank Drebin and Jane Spencer are still laughing from the movie they just saw in the cinema.

  • One of my history professors listed three movies that understood the Middle Ages: THe Lion in Winter, Beckett, and The Search for the Holy Grail. And the Middles Ages was her speciality.

  • JoshB

    Cunth and fuck and anal celery are minor parts of the movie and simply ignorable.
    Unless you have an agenda

    Would “Encouraging Quality Cinema” count as an agenda?

  • Feh

    Paul, The Lion In Winter is one of my all-time favorite movies. It’s good to see a shout-out for this relatively unknown film.

    M-A, I think that disagreement on what makes a dumb movie dumb is pretty important. For example, Holy Grail certainly has sex jokes. And poop jokes. And boob jokes. And animal cruelty jokes. And bodily fluid jokes. And gay jokes. And pain = humor jokes. Yet you love it, and relish quoting it.

    Why are those jokes laudable in Holy Grail, and lamentable in MacGruber?

  • Because in the Holy Grail there are so many other great jokes that I have to strain to recall the poop and boob jokes despite watching the movie several times?

  • MaryAnn

    Why are those jokes laudable in Holy Grail, and lamentable in MacGruber?

    Comparing *MacGruber* to Monty Python is like saying that Yoo-Hoo and Lindt tuffles both contain cocoa, therefore they must be equal in quality.

    If you can point to some intellectual anarchy in *MacGruber* like what the Python guys deployed, I’m listening…

  • Albert Hahn

    Not sure if this is needed, MaSch,
    but I (and MaryAnn) meant
    the old Repo Man, not the new release Repo Men.
    JoshB, there are almost 7 billion different
    ideas of what Quality Cinema is. Apparently
    MaryAnn thinks Monty Python’s Holy Grail
    fits that category. I don’t. But,
    one of my favorite movies ever is The Meaning of Life.
    But one could limit a review on the graphic
    restaurant puking scene and the bloody
    liver removal. This would fit the reviewer’s
    agenda of her idea of “Encouraging Quality Cinema”
    but wouldn’t help me in deciding whether
    or not to see it. Like this Magruber review.
    Mind you, I did like this review by MaryAnn,
    and wouldn’t have seen the movie except
    for this onslaught of opinions.
    I braced myself for 90 minutes of the
    stuff of the review and was surprised
    at how little there was and how much was funny.
    Comedy writers don’t even know what’s funny,
    but apparently reviewers do:-)
    Even when comedy writers write material
    that they think is great, they don’t really know.
    Lenny Bruce had written some stuff at 3 A.M. he
    was very excited about, and he couldn’t wait to
    test it with someone else. In those days nobody
    was up at that hour except hookers. So he
    went out and hired one for an hour and took
    her to his room. After a few minutes
    of listening to his stuff she said “Look mister,
    I’d rather just fuck”.

  • Not sure if this is needed, MaSch,
    but I (and MaryAnn) meant the old Repo Man, not the new release Repo Men.

    MaSch was pointing out your rather dubious inclusion of Scorcese’s Goodfellas in a list of movie comedies. I get that you and MaryAnn both like that movie a lot–it just would have read better if you included it on a list of great movies, not comedies.

    As for the Naked Gun reference, (SPOILER) a key scene in the movie has the hero and his girlfriend coming out of a movie laughing it up like a typical happy-go-lucky couple. Then the camera pans up to the theatre marquee which reads: Platoon. Which is not the type of movie one normally associates with that type of reaction.

    For what it’s worth, I did like your Lennie Bruce story.

  • Albert Hahn

    I did deliberately add Goodfellas as a comedy.
    I was reaching to find any comedies I liked
    on MaryAnn’s top 100 :-)
    My top 100 would be mostly comedies and musicals.
    MacGruber will not make it:-)
    No movies by SNL alumni would make it
    except Forget Paris and possibly Parenthood.
    Btw, for movie and review lovers, check out
    Jay Stone’s pan of Letters to Juliet.
    Greatest review I’ve ever read.
    But I may downgrade it if I see the movie,
    like I did with MaryAnn’s review of MacGruber.
    Comedy is not like math where you
    could claim an intellectual superiority
    over others. Comedy for some includes spotting
    “intellectual anarchy”. For some it’s
    jokes where the punchline must be telegraphed
    or they’ll never get it. For some it’s
    rubbing their teddy bear’s nose on their belly.
    Btw, MaryAnn, you do know you used Cunth far, far
    more in your review than it appeared in the movie.
    That reminds me of another Lenny Bruce line.
    Cocksucker was one of the key words in his act
    that led to many, many arrests and trials.
    At one of these trials the arresting officer
    gave his testimony generously, laboriously strewn
    with the offending word. Lenny’s comment:
    “This guy just loved saying cocksucker”.

  • nick

    2: Did Nick read her review of the first Sex in the City movie?

    when i mentioned it here… i had not. i have now. unfortunately, the bulk of the criticism there was that sitc2 didn’t push the right feminist buttons. so i guess we now know what it takes for a comedy to qualify here. jokes about unequal pay? SOUNDS FUNNY!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cb_6v-JQ13Q

  • As much as I liked Holy Grail and Life of Brian, Python’s Meaning of Life made me wish I had those hours of my life back to watch, say, HG or LoB again.

  • zepto

    1: Is the 96 Saab a good or bad car?

    Sorry to take so long to see this, Paul. Basically any Saab made after 1993 is a sad shadow of Saab’s former glory. I’m not sure if that’s how the original commenter meant it.

  • Feh

    Comparing *MacGruber* to Monty Python is like saying that Yoo-Hoo and Lindt tuffles both contain cocoa, therefore they must be equal in quality.

    If you can point to some intellectual anarchy in *MacGruber* like what the Python guys deployed, I’m listening…

    I wish I’d gotten a more considered reply, rather than a simple dismissal.

    But I suppose I can extract that you think the other ingredients of Grail elevate the quality of the whole movie; that the context of the poo jokes and physical comedy raise Grail above MacGruber.

    I agree. But again, I wish your reply was deeper.

  • stryker1121

    @Feh–There’s dumb and then there’s smart-dumb. Movies like Tropic Thunder or South Park have subtext underneath the layers of crudity. “Dumb for the sake of dumb” flicks like ‘MacGruber,’ where there’s not much going on under the shit jokes and ‘cunth’ references, just don’t have the same kind of appeal for some filmgoers.

  • MaryAnn

    I wish I’d gotten a more considered reply, rather than a simple dismissal.

    It’s not a simple dismissal. Context is all. You’re talking about apples and oranges when you suggest that *MacGruber* is akin to Monty Python. Monty Python isn’t *about* poo jokes and physical comedy. *MacGruber* has nothing going for it *but* poo jokes and a stick of celery up MacGruber’s ass. I need more than that from a movie.

  • Albert Hahn

    After a long, long thread with much discussion on both sides MaryAnn’s thoughtful, considered epilog:
    “*MacGruber* has nothing going for it *but* poo jokes and a stick of celery up MacGruber’s ass…”
    Wow!

  • MaryAnn

    Are you suggesting, Albert Hahn, that there *is* more to the movie than that? Or that we here haven’t given more thought to the movie than those who actually made it?

  • CB

    Haha, not since “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” has there been such a hilarious comment section.

    The nice twist in this case is that there appears to be a rift in the “MacGruber isn’t awful” camp: Those who think Mary is being an intellectual elitist for not enjoying the low-brow humor, and those who think Mary wasn’t being intellectual enough to find the subtlety and sophistication that lurks underneath the low-brow humor.

    I want to see more conflict between these camps, frankly. You think opposite things about the film, therefore the other ones must be biased with agendas, and probably require insults relating to their sexuality! Come on, go for it!

  • The nice twist in this case is that there appears to be a rift in the “MacGruber isn’t awful” camp: Those who think Mary is being an intellectual elitist for not enjoying the low-brow humor, and those who think Mary wasn’t being intellectual enough to find the subtlety and sophistication that lurks underneath the low-brow humor.

    For the record, I don’t think the problem is not enough intellectualizing. More like a little too much application of “the simplest solution is usually the right one.” It’s not that the jokes are deep, just that homosexuality and poop are not the punchlines.

  • CB

    Are we making some philosophical distinction here between integral aspects of the punchline vs the punchline itself? Or are we imagining that somehow Macgruber offering to blow a guy was not intended to invoke homosexuality in any way?

  • Are we making some philosophical distinction here between integral aspects of the punchline vs the punchline itself? Or are we imagining that somehow Macgruber offering to blow a guy was not intended to invoke homosexuality in any way?

    No, they’re definitely part of the joke, but the butt of said joke is MacGruber, not gay people.

    I think my opinion that MacGruber sounds like an eight-year-old who has been throwing a tantrum and had his parent reveal some magical thing they were going to get but aren’t anymore is the best way to indicate why I thought his reaction was funny.

    As for the poop jokes, again, no poop is ever seen or heard. The gags are more about his Se7en-style notebook (which contains a remarkably poor doodle of someone being pooped on, and the term “upper decker”.

    Again: no arguments as to whether or not people should find it funny. That’s entirely subjective. But I’ve seen movies where a piece of poop, a literal, existing piece of poop, is the joke, plain and simple. MacGruber is not one of those movies.

  • CB

    No, they’re definitely part of the joke, but the butt of said joke is MacGruber, not gay people.

    Yes, the butt of the joke is MacGruber, and the joke itself is him offering to perform a gay sex act. Doing so makes MacGruber the butt of the joke.

    MacGruber offers gay sex equals haha, laugh at MacGruber.

    It’s a joke about homosexuality, where a character acting gay makes them the butt of the joke. The entire premise of the joke is that homosexuality is funny and bad, which is why MacGruber offering gay sex makes him the butt. Him offering gay sex is the punchline. Ergo, homosexuality is the punchline.

    I can’t believe I’m explaining this. The nit you’re trying to pick doesn’t exist. It’s a homophobic joke, plain and simple.

  • Yes, the butt of the joke is MacGruber, and the joke itself is him offering to perform a gay sex act. Doing so makes MacGruber the butt of the joke.

    MacGruber offers gay sex equals haha, laugh at MacGruber.

    But he’s offering it to a guy who already hates him, a guy who could not possibly want a blowjob from MacGruber. In fact, there’s not much evidence anyone would want a blowjob from MacGruber. That makes it a non-sequitur, to me. Later he makes the same offer to his commanding officer, but instead of desperate tears it’s a weird sort of straight-faced, respectful offer. I feel as if it’s MacGruber’s only gambit in any situation.

    Why are you so convinced it’s a homophobic joke? It may seem “obvious”, but why? I’m basing my read of this joke on their other work (Hot Rod, the numerous SNL Digital Shorts). What are you basing it on, other than an assumption that the filmmakers are making fun of gay people?

  • CB

    What are you basing it on, other than an assumption that the filmmakers are making fun of gay people?

    I’m basing it on THE JOKE. MacGruber offers gay sex equals haha laugh at MacGruber.

    Making fun of Macgruber for offering gay sex is making fun of gay people.

    That doesn’t change because nobody wants gay sex from him (because the people he is offering it to aren’t even gay, because you aren’t supposed to be laughing at them for that reason like you are the gay guy Macgruber rejects).

    Making fun of Eddie Murphy in a fat suit is making fun of fat people, even if it’s making fun of other things too.

    That Eddie Murphy has made movies that don’t make fun of fat people is rather irrelevant to the aforementioned fact.

    Get it?

    What do their previous works have to do with it, anyway? Have they really never made any jokes about homosexuality before (and why would that mean they aren’t now), or have they and you have explanations for why those didn’t count either?

    You’re definitely on the “MAJ isn’t intellectual enough” side with all the mental hoops you’re asking us to jump through to not see the obvious.

  • I’m basing it on THE JOKE. MacGruber offers gay sex equals haha laugh at MacGruber.

    Well, I think we’re at an impasse. This read of the joke did not cross my mind in the theater. I think you have to be biased against the joke to see this (i.e., you think the elements of the joke = dumb joke and therefore the punchline must be “gay sex equals haha laugh at MacGruber”).

    Your example that Eddie Murphy in a fat suit has to be making fun of fat people is a perfect example of why your logic doesn’t work. Is it because Eddie Murphy is a thin person? Eddie Murphy may be a comedian, so expectations come into play, but he is also an actor. Any actor could put on a fat suit for any number of reasons, including to play a character that is fat. Saying that a person in a fat suit is automatically a fat joke is like saying seeing a fat person is automatically a fat joke. Obviously, this is not true. Murphy in a fat suit becomes a fat joke when the filmmakers make it into a fat joke using context.

    I think the context of the gag in MacGruber goes against the punchline “gay sex equals haha laugh at MacGruber”. I admit that the millions of unwashed morons who made Transformers popular probably won’t notice, but I think the filmmakers’ intentions are more relevant when criticizing the film than the reaction of the lowest common denominator.

    What do their previous works have to do with it, anyway?

    Their previous work is filled with wall-to-wall non-sequiturs. I think this joke is a non-sequitur. I guess you’re right that their previous work doesn’t preclude this from being a gay joke, but it seems in keeping with their previous non-sequiturs.

    I know you don’t, but assuming you agreed that it was a non-sequitur, I don’t think a non-sequitur requires jumping through any intellectual hoops.

  • Albert Hahn

    A guy gets hit in the nuts with a ball.
    Homer laughs uproariously but catches
    his breath long enuf to give this glowing review:
    “That is funny on so many levels”.
    Appears to be a totally bogus analysis.
    However, both incidents of MacGruber’s
    oral sex offer easily work on the homophobic
    level *and* another level that has been
    explained by Tyler and me (and others?).
    I agree the joke is homophobic, but that
    is only the truth, not the whole truth.
    Here’s a non sequitur: Bart is on the
    diving board. Nelson shouts “Bart, your
    epidermis is showing”. This rattles Bart,
    who falls off, breaking his leg.
    Nelson laughs and helpfully elucidates the smaller kids: “Epidermis actually means skin.
    That’s what makes it so funny”.

  • MaryAnn

    However, both incidents of MacGruber’s
    oral sex offer easily work on the homophobic
    level *and* another level that has been
    explained by Tyler and me (and others?).

    If we lived in a more enlightened culture in which this kind of joke could not work on a homophobic level because no one was homophobic, and a cheap comedy could not count on a cheap laugh from a significant percentage of the audience by deploying “humor” based on the notion that homosexuality is strange, demeaning, and unmanly, then perhaps your interpretation would hold more water. But these jokes absolutely *rely* on the anticipated homophobia of the audience. The fact that some members of the audience may not be homophobic does not change that. The fact that homosexuality comes laden with all sorts of cultural baggage at this moment in time makes the joke inescapable of that cultural context in a way that, say, my previous example — in which MacGruber offers to paint someone’s house — does not have cultural baggage. If the filmmakers wanted not to invoke homophobia, there are *many* other options at their disposal. But they chose the joke laden with cultural baggage.

    This seems so obvious to me that I’m astonished that it has to be explained.

  • If we lived in a more enlightened culture in which this kind of joke could not work on a homophobic level because no one was homophobic, and a cheap comedy could not count on a cheap laugh from a significant percentage of the audience by deploying “humor” based on the notion that homosexuality is strange, demeaning, and unmanly, then perhaps your interpretation would hold more water. But these jokes absolutely *rely* on the anticipated homophobia of the audience. The fact that some members of the audience may not be homophobic does not change that.

    Well, I think the joke is about blowjobs. You changed it to house painting. Probably arbitrary, but instead of maintaining the crude element of the joke and further emphasizing the absurd, you took the gross out of it. Like I said to CB, I think the base elements (or element) of this joke reads as “dumb” to you before the actual joke has occurred, and as a result, you’re lumping the joke and your perception of the audience’s reaction to it together in a way that makes an unfair assumption on the part of the filmmakers. Once again, going off of Hot Rod and their digital shorts, I really don’t think these guys would purposefully write gags with the intention of cashing in on the stupid chunk of the audience. In fact, by writing a hard-R rated movie, they purposefully prevented a good chunk of masses from being able to attend.

  • you took the gross out of it

    “Crude” or “R-rated” would have been better. Sorry. No need for anyone in this thread to nitpick about the fact that I accidentally alluded to blowjobs being “gross”.

  • CB

    I think you have to be biased against the joke to see this (i.e., you think the elements of the joke = dumb joke and therefore the punchline must be “gay sex equals haha laugh at MacGruber”).

    I’m not gonna lie one bit: I’d have laughed at that joke watching the film.

    I laughed at Holy Grail when Lancelot “saves” Galahad the Pure from the maidens of Castle Anthrax who all need spankings, and Galahad quips “I bet you’re gay.”

    I can laugh at the jokes, but I still understand how they work.

    I know you don’t, but assuming you agreed that it was a non-sequitur, I don’t think a non-sequitur requires jumping through any intellectual hoops.

    No, I completely believe that it’s a non-sequitur. Non-sequitur means “it does not follow”, and the reason this joke is a non-sequitur and tickles the humor center of your brain is because MacGruber isn’t gay**.

    Non-sequiturs are often called “being random”; that’s what you’re going for isn’t it, that gay sex was picked as just something random with no greater significance? But they are only random in that very human way that is equivalent to “out of the blue”. Especially in humor it’s the deliberate juxtaposition of unlike things which you weren’t expecting that makes it work.

    I don’t think the choice of gay sex was random at all. It was chosen because it was completely out of character and unexpected, yet fit with the theme of “MacGruber is a fuckup”, cus see, to solve his problems he has to demean himself by offering sex, and ha it’s even gay sex! Like he’s a crack head desperate for a hit, and he does it at the drop of a hat!

    Yeah, see, it’s a non-sequitor, but it’s not an accidental choice in the slightest. There was no dartboard for what MacGruber offers to do with “paint your house”, “diversify your stock portfolio”, or “hook you up with my sister” that they were tossing darts at. They chose to have it be “teh gay sex” because they visualized maximum cognitive dissonance in the viewer, who surely assumed that despite his ineptitude, MacGruber was kinda awesome and so obviously hetero.

    The joke only works in the way that it does because of the cultural context it’s being made in, and which the writers were fully aware of and deliberately invoking. So, non-sequitur? Yes. Gay joke? Duh!

    **Think about how it changes the joke if that’s not the case. MacGruber is totally gay. Macgruber loves cock. Offering to have gay sex to keep his job is offering to do something he wanted to do anyway! It’s funny, but for a completely different reason. If you don’t see it, imagine that the boss is instead a hot woman. Then the joke is trying to have his cake and eat it too!

    @ Mary

    This seems so obvious to me that I’m astonished that it has to be explained.

    In some ways, yes, the intent of the joke is so obvious it’s hard to believe it can be missed. On the other hand, I’ve known lots of people who aren’t racist, aren’t exposed to racism because of who they live near, and so tend to think obvious cases of racism aren’t. As if because they aren’t racist, they should act oblivious to its existence.

  • CB

    Well, I think the joke is about blowjobs. You changed it to house painting. Probably arbitrary

    Gay blowjobs.

    If you think that’s an arbitrary choice and house painting was equally likely and it’s just random chance where they chose gay blowjob instead, you’re delusional.

  • **Think about how it changes the joke if that’s not the case. MacGruber is totally gay. Macgruber loves cock. Offering to have gay sex to keep his job is offering to do something he wanted to do anyway! It’s funny, but for a completely different reason. If you don’t see it, imagine that the boss is instead a hot woman. Then the joke is trying to have his cake and eat it too!

    It still comes down to the same thing as you said earlier: Eddie Murphy in a fat suit is obviously a fat joke, a charge I don’t agree with. You seem to think it’s impossible to construct a joke in which a dude offers to suck another dude’s dick that is about homosexuality, and I don’t think it is. Louis CK has a whole routine called “Suck a Bag of Dicks”, which you can find here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzbURUrgQao on YouTube, which I would say is also clearly focused on dick-sucking and not homosexuality, even when he talks about sucking the dick of a guy in the front row of the audience; I wonder if you would agree.

    I think the joke would be just as funny with a woman. I don’t think it’s funny because MacGruber isn’t gay, I think it’s funny that he skipped past any other option and went straight to a dick-sucking offer. Again, Piper hates him. Why would that convince Piper to join his team? What decision-making process did MacGruber go through to arrive at that? None, apparently, since he uses it on the Powers Boothe character as well. It’s his only trump card, and like everything MacGruber does, it never works and makes him look like a bizarre, out-of-touch crazy person.

    I think by turning this relatively minor joke in a crude comedy movie into a purposeful attempt to use the homophobic public to garner their movie bigger laughs, you are the ones overintellectualizing the joke. The whole reason we’re arguing this one is because there are reasons it could be interpreted as homophobic, but it is not inarguably and basely homophobic the way “don’t be a faggot” or another comment like that commonly used in usual “frat-boy comedies” would be. Sounds like a non-sequitur thought up by a bunch of non-homophobic people spitballing in a writer’s room to me.

  • MaryAnn

    Sounds like a non-sequitur thought up by a bunch of non-homophobic people spitballing in a writer’s room to me.

    Somehow, I doubt that even nonhomophobic writers could be unaware of how their joke would be received by a large portion of the audience.

    you’re lumping the joke and your perception of the audience’s reaction to it together in a way that makes an unfair assumption on the part of the filmmakers.

    No, the unfair assumption is that the writers *would have no clue whatsoever* how their joke would be seen by the lowbrow audience the film is aimed squarely at.

  • Somehow, I doubt that even nonhomophobic writers could be unaware of how their joke would be received by a large portion of the audience. The unfair assumption is that the writers *would have no clue whatsoever* how their joke would be seen by the lowbrow audience the film is aimed squarely at.

    I’ve written many things in my life, and I have never stopped myself to think, “What are the stupid people in the audience going to think of this?”

  • LaSargenta

    I’ve written many things in my life, and I have never stopped myself to think, “What are the stupid people in the audience going to think of this?”

    Really? Then you’ve broken the first rule of good writing: Know your audience and write to them.

    CB said what I’ve been wanting to say.

  • Really? Then you’ve broken the first rule of good writing: Know your audience and write to them.

    I think you’re joking a little bit, even if the advice is sound, but I don’t like this angle on it. It’s like a weird backwards type of pandering, the inverse of spelling everything out for dummies. We’re not even trying to make sure they understand what’s going on, just making sure they don’t think something’s going on that isn’t!

  • CB

    You’re absolutely right. It was completely random. It could have been “darn your socks”, could have been “perform an interpretive dance”, could have been anything. It was pure chance, like particle collisions in an accelerator giving off a probabilistic sampling of other particles and radiation. “I’ll suck your dick” just happened to be what popped out! No greater significance than that. They certainly didn’t pick that specific one for a reason, oh no! It’s the exact same meaning as any of the other choices. No cultural context or otherwise was considered, because people don’t automatically and subconsciously consider cultural context. Why, they are probably completely unaware of the cultural context of the country they live in and the existence of homophobia!

    That’s a very reasonable interpretation, and not at all the sign of someone erecting every mental barrier possible to avoid seeing the obvious.

    P.S. Forget possible or impossible; if you don’t realize that every time Eddie Murphy has put on a fat suit, he was making fun of fat people, well, you’re worse off than I thought.

  • CB

    However, both incidents of MacGruber’s oral sex offer easily work on the homophobic level *and* another level that has been explained by Tyler and me (and others?). I agree the joke is homophobic, but that is only the truth, not the whole truth.

    That the joke is homophobic and other things too is something I already agreed with and is patently obvious.

    If you agree that the joke is homophobic, then we agree on everything that is relevant to this discussion. Is it homophobic? It is, end of story. The additional truth missing from the whole here is tangential, immaterial, and not of any great controversy.

    You might want to shift your attention to Tyler, who is the one who doesn’t seem to get all the levels the joke is working on.

    P.S. You’re not writing poetry so you can just let the text box handle line wraps for you. Please, for the sake of those reading who expect line lengths to be consistent and to also indicate something about paragraphs?

  • You’re absolutely right. It was completely random. It could have been “darn your socks”, could have been “perform an interpretive dance”, could have been anything. It was pure chance, like particle collisions in an accelerator giving off a probabilistic sampling of other particles and radiation. “I’ll suck your dick” just happened to be what popped out! No greater significance than that. They certainly didn’t pick that specific one for a reason, oh no! It’s the exact same meaning as any of the other choices. No cultural context or otherwise was considered, because people don’t automatically and subconsciously consider cultural context. Why, they are probably completely unaware of the cultural context of the country they live in and the existence of homophobia!

    First of all, I never said it had to be as completely and totally random as the way the wind blows.

    What I’m saying is, I think most not-homophobic people go about their day not thinking about whether the things they say are homophobic. I can believe that a bunch of not-homophobic dudes wrote this dick-sucking joke as a non-sequitur and did not consider that it would be construed as an anti-gay sentiment because there is nothing in the text of the joke that is anti-gay. It does not slur gay people. It does not bash gay people. It can, based on this thread, apparently be construed as making a gay sex act one of inferiority. But I still think that requires more interpretation of the joke on the part of the viewer than is necessary, exactly what you’re accusing me of doing. I stated earlier that I did not think someone sucking a dick was “inferior”. I never considered it. In my opinion, the viewer would have to think that or have considered that other people might think that for the joke to become anti-gay.

    Do you really think everyone in the world does automatically and subconsciously consider cultural context? Wouldn’t we have quite a bit less homophobia if that was true?

    I also want to bring Forte’s performance of the joke back in some. In the second scene, at least, when he offers dick-sucking to Powers Boothe, he does it in a way that says to me, “well, okay. Clearly this is what you want, so here’s your chance.” The whole movie has jokes about MacGruber’s assuredness that he knows what he’s doing, and I think the execution of the callback is another sign that this is a character-based joke.

    P.S. Forget possible or impossible; if you don’t realize that every time Eddie Murphy has put on a fat suit, he was making fun of fat people, well, you’re worse off than I thought.

    That’s not what you said. You claimed Eddie Murphy putting on a fat suit for a movie is automatically a fat joke. Basing it off the movies in their existing form and claiming the mere situation is a fat joke are two entirely different things.

    And even that I disagree with. Take The Nutty Professor family. Sure, there are fat jokes directed at Sherman and Papa Klump, but what about the brother character, who is less fat? How fat constitutes a fat suit? In those movies and others (like Coming to America), he plays old people. Automatically an old joke? When he plays a white person, automatically a race joke?

    The flaw with this argument in any case is that it is specific to Eddie Murphy. The fact that it’s Eddie Murphy more makes it a fat joke than the fact that there is a fat suit involved. If Meryl Streep donned a fat suit for an upcoming role, I doubt you would assume that it is a fat joke. The example puts more emphasis on the filmmaker than the elements of the scenario, yet you already tried to write off my knowledge of the filmmakers’ existing work as relevant to this argument.

  • Albert Hahn

    CB writes:
    “If you agree that the joke is homophobic, then we agree on everything that is relevant to this discussion”
    Nope. We could just as easily say that the joke is simply funny and nothing else is relevant.
    The question is not whether the joke
    is homophobic or just funny. It’s a question
    of *how* funny or *how* homophobic. Are there
    trace elements of homophobia, negligible homophobia
    or great heaping gobs of it. Tyler has done a good job of explaining the different levels.
    Most of us agree that “All in the Family” is not racist. However there are certainly some that will
    agree heartily with Archie Bunker’s racist comments. I think the people behind MacGruber did a reasonable job of making a funny movie. I can’t argue with MaryAnn’s “thumbs down” but I can certainly criticize her view (even after all this discussion) that the movie is simply about poo jokes and homophobia aimed at her strawman frat boys who apparently love poo jokes and hate gays.
    I give much more credit to Tyler’s review (which he links) that gives a nod to the humor, and doesn’t get worked up about the building blocks of that humor. The joke is funny and works on another level.
    The homophobia is just a splotch, a component of a joke, but to some, like the dirt on the fork in the Monty Python sketch, “…it’s like a mountain, a vast bowl of pus”.

  • Before CB returns, one other way to put it, and I think the core of the disagreement here, is that I think a joke can involve two men sucking each others dicks without being a joke about two men sucking each others dicks, if you get what I mean. It’s true that a man sucking another man’s dick is an inherently homosexual action, but I don’t see why the joke can’t possibly be about these two characters rather than the act and/or that the filmmakers saw it that way and did not consider otherwise. CB, for one, definitely seems convinced that it absolutely cannot be that way, and if anything, I’d like to know why not. Maybe it’s not likely. Maybe it’d be a bad thing. But that’s not what I’m asking, I’m asking why you seem to think it’s impossible.

  • MaryAnn

    I’ve written many things in my life, and I have never stopped myself to think, “What are the stupid people in the audience going to think of this?”

    Oh, come on! This is not some art film that is intended for a select, enlightened audience, in which something might be misunderstood by some juvenile homophobe who accidentally wandered into the movie. *MacGruber* is overtly stupid, and intended to appeal to people who like overtly stupid humor. Stupid people (or those who willingly turn their brains off) aren’t some small sliver of the potential audience for this movie: they are the *entire* audience.

    I think most not-homophobic people go about their day not thinking about whether the things they say are homophobic.

    Most people are not speaking to a large audience that any reasonable person should expect would be — in significant proportion, in this day and age — homophobic.

  • CB

    I’ve never said it’s completely impossible in any hypothetical situation for a joke involving gay sex to not be homophobic. I said that this joke obviously is.

    You can hang onto the minuscule chance that this is not the case, or the even more out-there chance that the joke isn’t about homosexuality at all, but you’re out on a limb since in the actual cultural context of the film, odds are it is how it transparently appears.

    One easy way to change the context would be to have MacGruber be gay, and for this not to be a black mark for his character. Oh, hey, being gay is okay in this context, the blowjob joke was just about blowjobs.

    But hmm… Does the movie give us any other clues as to the attitude towards homosexuality, so we can glean the actual difference?

    Oh right. The gay mercenary gets rejected from MacGruber’s team for being gay. Ew, icky, don’t want him around.

    Q. E. frackin’ D.

    At least the Ryan Phillipe has the guts to admit that the gay jokes are gay jokes and the homophobia is homophobia. He just says he thinks it’s in good spirit, not to the level of being offensive.

    He doesn’t try some complete B.S. deconstruction where see, the gay blowjob isn’t actually about a gay blowjob, that’s just a non-sequitur!

    No, it was a gay blowjob joke, plain and simple, and the directer wanted you to laugh at the gayness, but not be offended.

    I’m not offended, but the joke is what it is, and you’re blind to it.

  • CB

    I think most not-homophobic people go about their day not thinking about whether the things they say are homophobic.

    I think most non-homophobic people go about their day not saying homophobic things.

    If you find yourself having to explain things like “Well see, when I quipped about that guy sucking cocks in an alley, I wasn’t joking about a guy sucking cocks in an alley, it was a non-sequitur!” with any regularity at all, then there are deeper issues at play here.

  • Oh right. The gay mercenary gets rejected from MacGruber’s team for being gay. Ew, icky, don’t want him around.

    Q. E. frackin’ D.

    The gay guy gets rejected, but it is not definitive that his being gay is the reason. MacGruber takes a second to process and then gives a “hey, what the hell?” shrug/grin when he discovers the guy is gay, and both men are invited to the wedding at the end of the movie.

    If you find yourself having to explain things like “Well see, when I quipped about that guy sucking cocks in an alley, I wasn’t joking about a guy sucking cocks in an alley, it was a non-sequitur!” with any regularity at all, then there are deeper issues at play here.

    You notice we’re all in a comment thread, right? I didn’t offer that the joke was not-homophobic apropos of nothing, like I wandered out of the theater yelling “Hey this movie’s funny and also not homophobic at all!”. I did it because MaryAnn blasted the movie for being homophobic, and I feel it wasn’t.

    I’ve never said it’s completely impossible in any hypothetical situation for a joke involving gay sex to not be homophobic. I said that this joke obviously is.

    Okay, you didn’t, but you compared it to Eddie Murphy donning a fat suit, and said that that was invariably, inescapably a fat joke. Later you elaborated to say that said example was based on Murphy’s existing movies.

    Oh, come on! This is not some art film that is intended for a select, enlightened audience, in which something might be misunderstood by some juvenile homophobe who accidentally wandered into the movie. *MacGruber* is overtly stupid, and intended to appeal to people who like overtly stupid humor. Stupid people (or those who willingly turn their brains off) aren’t some small sliver of the potential audience for this movie: they are the *entire* audience.

    I think there are plenty of people out there who are not idiots who still enjoy seeing a “dumb” comedy. Not like everyone who loves Dumb and Dumber has the same intellect as the characters.

    I think Lorne probably offered Akiva and Jorma the movie, and they probably thought, “You know, the number of people in the world that are going to want to see a MacGruber movie is probably a very low number, so we’ll do it if we can make it hard R and in keeping with our comic sensibilities.” They played to The Lonely Island core fanbase, not necessarily the masses.

    You can hang onto the minuscule chance that this is not the case, or the even more out-there chance that the joke isn’t about homosexuality at all, but you’re out on a limb since in the actual cultural context of the film, odds are it is how it transparently appears.

    Yet one more time, I’m basing the non-sequitur thing on the numerous other works by these same guys, who have an album, twenty or so Digital Shorts on “SNL”, a YouTube channel, and another feature-length movie under their belt. It didn’t require any major consideration on my part. You know the style of comedy when you go to see a movie by Will Ferrell or Mel Brooks or Steve Martin or whoever. I went in expecting a Lonely Island-style movie, and I think that’s what I got.

  • In order to pre-emptively concede this argument, though, I will offer this “halfway” statement: clearly you and MaryAnn and several others are convinced of the joke’s homophobia, and I’m not going to deny that it could easily play that way to the kind of frat boys the movie is being marketed to. Ultimately, regardless of whether the joke is or isn’t homophobic, the gist of what I’m saying is just that I don’t think the joke was made with any sort of malicious intent on the filmmakers’ part.

    I think to call someone homophobic is a serious charge. It’s like calling someone a racist. I don’t think the filmmakers are homophobic. I don’t think some guy doing a double-take at two gay men kissing is enough to label them a homophobe. Intent matters more to me than the minutia of each action, and as long as a person doesn’t bear any actual hatred, disrespect, or discrimination against gay people, that’s what matters to me.

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