'MacGruber' screens at SXSW Film Festival: Quite a spectacle

The stars were out in Austin on Monday night, as enthusiastic cast members Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Phillippe, and a black-clad, turquoise bootlace tie-wearing Val Kilmer, along with friends like SNL‘s Seth Meyers and comedian Paul Scheer, came out to celebrate the world premiere of MacGruber (in theaters May 21). The sketch-to-feature adaptation, SNL‘s first since the Ladies Man (2000), follows the exploits of a doofus soldier of fortune (played with terrific idiocy by Forte) as he tries to take down his arch enemy (Kilmer) who happens to be in possession of a nuclear warhead. Kilmer’s character, who fancies painting aged women in the nude when he’s not wreaking havoc on the world, is named Cunth. If imagining the possibility of riffs on such a name makes you snicker, as it did the genial Austin crowd, this is the movie for you.

I appreciate the value of event movies like MacGruber at  SXSW. They attract big crowds, they offer glitter that’s usually only tossed in the air on New York and Los Angeles red carpets. But to me the real highlight of a proper film festival is when you stumble into a small theater and find yourself falling for something raw and undiscovered and wholly surprising. My favorite movie so far of this year’s SXSW is a little comedy, at once wistful and wonderfully dry-witted, called the Happy Poet. Shot here in Austin the film tells the story of one debt-ridden man who attempts to change his lousy fortunes by opening up a vegetarian food stand. It sounds modest. It is modest! But damned if my heart didn’t swell during the film’s great climax—to say nothing of the last shot that left me touched to the point of tears. Austin filmmaker Paul Gordon, who wrote, directed, edited, and starred in the movie, ought to be mighty pleased with himself.

What say you PopWatchers? Are you psyched for MacGruber? Are you nervous about Val Kilmer’s expanding girth? Who else out there in SXSW-ville has a favorite film to recommend?

Comments (29 total) Add your comment
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  • stevex

    The ‘MacGruber’ series of sketches are the lamest thing to come out of SNL in years, and that’s saying something. I can’t imagine that movie pulling any kind of box office at all.

    • DW

      Agreed. I assume this movie will go straight to the bargain bin alongside all the other terrible SNL movies.

      • saintofE69th

        most have been lame..but some rocked…Blues Brothers…first wayne’s world…

    • Shamrock

      No sense of humor. Sorry there are no 3D blue smurfs for you.

    • Brian

      Comment boards make me hate people.

  • Ryan

    Hmm, MacGruber looks like a so-dumb-it’s-funny type of movie. Could be better than expected.

  • Chris

    This is a funny sketch, but a movie?

  • donner

    I love it when small movies make big impacts. Am still not sure about a MacGruber movie, but Happy Poet sounds charming…I need to head down to Alamo Ritz and check it out…

  • Erik

    MacGruber’s premiere is not an event. The producers probably couldn’t get a premiere in New York or Hollywood, since no one is looking forward to this dud.

  • Elizabeth

    Did I see Chris Jericho?

    • Chris

      You did. OR we both suffer from the same Y2J hallucinations.

  • john

    Best I saw at SXSW were Micmacs and Cherry…

  • Beverley

    MacGruber isn’t funny for a two minute sketch. How in the world is it supposed to be funny for 90 minutes? No thanks.

  • me

    there’s 2 and a half minutes of my life I’ll never get back. the movie looks terrible

  • Jam

    MACGRUBER RULES !!!!!!!!! You losers should try to make a movie sometime.

  • Jam

    2 and a half minutes is what I wasted reading all your negative loser comments. Until you losers can make a movie keep it to yourselves

    • The Truth

      You don’t get the concept of the comments section, do you? If those 2 and half minutes are so valuable why did you waste them? People are entitled to their opinions and hopefully someday SNL will actually listen and not make crap like this.

  • Madd

    I want to hate MacGruber, but the sketch has had it’s moments and….Val Kilmer as a villain is just too awesome to pass.

  • Stephanie T.

    Look, there were some sketches like The Blues Brothers and Waynes World that could be molded into movies. MacGruber is one of those sketches where sometimes it’s funny and sometimes it’s not. To be honest some of the INTROS to MacGruber are a hell of a lot funnier than the sketches themselves. That’s not saying much. BTW: I can TOTALLY picture Val as a villian, but this is the wrong way to do that.

    • Chris

      Kilmer hasa paunchy poor man’s Travolta-Villain thing goin on.

      • Kessia

        the movies might be sitnohog there, but they weren’t cast there. theymight get extras from there though. if you know its being shotits already been cast more than likely. you need to be where theinterview opportunities are and have some experience and an agent.most things are cast in L A, but they are doing the filming inother states,as california has become too expensive to film in,and states such as N M. are offering film co’s. incentives tocome film there. you can look in your newspaper or listen tothe radio or tv for plugs about the filming. or maybe call theradio or tv station and see if they have heard anything.

  • Stephanie T.

    Jam, I have a feeling that MacGruber is going to be so terrible that it probably will be funny. Hey, if Showgirls was funny because it was God awful, the kudos to this film.

  • Stephanie T.


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