With few exceptions, “Saturday Night Live” skits don’t translate well to the big screen. The biggest reason for that, I think, is the short, almost-gimmicky nature of the average SNL skit. SNL writers, generally speaking, probably don’t consider later adaptation to the big screen when creating their improvish vignettes. I can think of a handful of hysterical SNL bits that would probably be DOA on the big screen (Jon Hamm’s Jon Ham springs to mind — I chuckle just thinking of that one).
That said, I have high hopes for the upcoming “MacGruber” film. For me, the ongoing “MacGruber” skit series has produced some of modern SNL’s funniest moments, the best of which came with Shia LaBeouf’s turn as MacGruber’s closeted gay son, Merrill. “MacGruber,” I think, is that SNL anomaly that could, potentially, be improved upon by theatrical treatment. That’s not to say the “MacGruber” film will be funnier than its best SNL counterparts, but this is one of the few SNL properties for which expansion onto the big screen feels almost like a natural next step. I can easily see “MacGruber” as a kind of slapstick farce in the mold of “Airplane,” “The Naked Gun” and, to a lesser degree, “Austin Powers.”
Of course, it all starts with the writing, but star Will Forte is no stranger to comedy writing or to teleplay work and neither are his partners on the project, Jorma Taccone and John Solomon. The film sports a modestly impressive cast as well. Besides Forte in the lead role, that cast includes Ryan Philippe, Val Kilmer and Kristen Wiig (who’s probably my favorite player among the current SNL cast). Personally, I’m hoping for a Shia LaBeouf/Andy Samberg cameo as well, but that’s probably asking too much — at least from the LaBeouf end.
In any case, although this poster isn’t particularly inspired, it doesn’t discourage my optimism either and I’m certainly looking forward to MacGruber’s theatrical debut.
“MacGruber” self detonates onto theater screens May 21.
. . .
Follow It’s Just Movies on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ItsJustMovies.