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MacGruber Climbs on Top of Pile of Failed SNL-Based Movies

Macgruber Shocking to, perhaps, four or five people, MacGruber, the feature-length adaptation of the Saturday Night Live skit, is officially a box-office bomb.

During its opening this past weekend, it earned just $4.1 million domestically, which is...not good.

I can't really watch SNL that much anymore. The degree to which it just isn't funny makes me so uncomfortable and makes me too aware of the fact that I'm going to die. So, I'm only marginally familiar with the MacGruber skit. I saw it once and may have giggled once or twice, but I really didn't find it that funny. The news that they were making a movie out of it seemed like a really bad idea especially since I think we've already learned this lesson too many times.

CNN actually has a rather comprehensive history of failed SNL-skit-inspired movies (inspired, no doubt, by the round-up that our own SnarkyAmber did last year). MacGruber's uncomfortable company includes Coneheads, Wayne's World 2, It's Pat: The Movie, Stuart Saves His Family, Blues Brothers 2000, A Night at the Roxbury, Superstar, and The Ladies Man*. Of these, I've seen Coneheads, which was a decent basic cable offering for rainy Saturday afternoons but I never ever found myself seeking it out, and Wayne's World 2, which really wasn't too bad but was admittedly pretty stupid.

Really, the only SNL-inspired movies that were worth the paper that the screenplays were printed on were Blues Brothers and Wayne's World. I've never seen all of Blues Brothers. I've been turned off of it by a series of really obnoxious dudes that I've had the displeasure of knowing who all loved Blues Brothers. But I love Wayne's World. It was really a well-crafted buddy comedy with characters who could actually support dialogue (even if a good portion of it was "Schwing!") and a keen self-awareness that produced classic scenes like this one:

Another thing that separated Wayne's World was the way it captured a common set of real-life characters in a common real-life setting. During the early 90s, public access shows were some of the best entertainment around. And suburbs of major cities were littered with dudes that became the composites of Wayne and Garth.

I was recently talking about public access shows with my husband and we were comparing which ones we watched. Our son, of course, didn't understand. Though he's not on the internet enough to know about things like vlogs and whatnot, he knows that people can just put videos of themselves on YouTube. But, back in the Dark Ages, one actually had to seek out media outlets for one's two-hour treatises on death metal. Uphill. Both ways. Things were tough, man.

Aside from the "gratuitous sex scene," I think it might be time to introduce my kid to Wayne's World and the essential choreography for all "Bohemian Rhapsody" singalongs.

* Apparently there is no apostrophe after the "s" in "Ladies." This is killing me.

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cindy w

I agree with you on Wayne's World - the first one was funny. Superstar had one or two jokes that made me laugh, but other than that? SNL-based movies seem to mostly be a generally BAD idea. Don't know when the movie studios will figure that out, though.

Sarah Lena

I'm just gonna go out on a limb and suggest that if you choose ANY sketch for a full-length movie conversion, try and pick one whose ENTIRE PREMISE is not based on brevity.

When you can count down the length of time in a MacGruber sketch (they're all right at one minute), perhaps we shouldn't tinker with perfection, eh?


I'm just pissed they're making fun of MacGyver. Why don't you just rip out my childhood and stomp on it while wearing high heeled boots, SNL?


Dude, I kinda had some hopes for MacGruber. The director is one of the writers of The Lonely Island, the guys who make the digital shorts on SNL. He co-wrote Lazy Sunday, the Natalie Portman rap, Dick in a Box, I'm on a Boat... the list goes on and on.

Plus, Kristin Wiig? She is hysterical in everything.

I really thought it might have a chance. Oh well. Probably still wasn't gonna see it anyway.

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