Has anyone ever handed you one of their shoes and said, “You have to smell this!” even though you’ve just seen the same shoe ominously repulse other smellers?


At Quality 16 and Rave

“MacGruber” is that putrid shoe transferred onto the screen. In all honesty, this film should make you puke, but — if you’re a true friend to the art of film — you’ll give it a whiff, only to hate yourself later.

Rarely does a film reach the elusive “so-bad-it’s-good” level of films like “Snakes on a Plane” and “Highlander” (which navigate different paths to the same end of the spectrum), but “MacGruber” might be ready to inherit the throne reserved for the best horrible movie in existence.

Because of the “Saturday Night Live” skit that spurred the film, which stars “SNL” cast members Will Forte and Kristen Wiig along with Ryan Phillippe (“Stop-Loss”), one would expect a lot of “bomb” metaphors to pop up in any review of such an atrocious piece of filmmaking. MacGruber, played by Forte, is essentially a poor man’s MacGyver, whose job it is to defuse bombs to presumably save the world. But the bomb metaphor for the film is too easy and simplistic.

There is a better comparison for describing how badly this film makes its viewers feel, and it’s built right into what we’re forced to call the plot: Watching this film feels like shoving a stick of celery up your own butt.

Remarkably, this act happens twice in “MacGruber,” in moments relatively crucial to the story — that is, when we aren’t witnessing a tearful, begging, out-of-options Forte offer oral sex to another man (which happens three different times). We also get to see Forte’s bare bottom for about four minutes, which is about as long as it takes him to have sex with co-star Wiig. He then goes at it with the ghost of his dead wife, played by former “SNL” cast member Maya Rudolph in what’s sure to be a career-defining role.

There is a brief bit of relevant reflection in this celery business, however, that makes the act resonate with viewers after the film ends. MacGruber explains to us, after he’s just done the gag the first time: “It sounds counter-intuitive, but you actually want to stick the thick end in, because if you stick the skinnier end in first, it’ll just slip out.” And really, while vomit-inducing, his logic makes sense.

In essence, he’s not just instructing us in how to adequately secure vegetables in our colons. He’s also offering existential insight into how to watch, or rather how to stomach, this film. While the two tasks sound equally disturbing and painful (the celery gag, and spending money to see “MacGruber”), we must be prepared for the worst parts before we embark on either task.

Likewise, we must not smell the rotten shoes of our friends until we’ve seen the sickened faces of our peers who have also smelled them, so we know what we’re signing up for. And, in life, we must know what we’re getting into before we make decisions that have potentially terrible consequences.

Consider the disgusting parts of “MacGruber” to be the thick end of a celery stick you may or may not choose to jam into yourself. Now that you know every disgusting and haunting image the film provides, you should have no trouble deciding whether or not you can handle watching 99 minutes of it. If you do decide to sit through it, don’t say you weren’t warned. You have no one to blame but yourself.

Oh wait, one more thing: MacGruber eats the celery when he’s done.

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