Remember the old days, when “Saturday Night Live” sketches kept becoming movies, with a few hits (“Wayne’s World”) and way more misses (“A Night at the Roxbury,” “Ladies Man,” “It’s Pat,” etc.)? Now one of those, “MacGruber,” makes the trip back to TV, offering an unnecessary reminder that not everything that’s funny for three minutes works for two hours, much less four.
Will Forte and Kristen Wiig again star in this eight-episode series for NBC’s streaming service Peacock, flanked by several familiar faces, old and new. But after an expletive-laden Maya Rudolph song that essentially recaps the entire 2010 movie, the show runs out of ingenuity, turning into a pretty colossal bore long before it’s over.
Because of the more expansive format, “MacGruber” has time to spoof not only “MacGyver,” its original inspiration, but basically everything ever produced with guns and action, which explains the Bond-esque opening credits.
Forte’s MacGruber has to be liberated from prison when the show starts, as he’s enlisted on a mission to help rescue the president’s kidnapped daughter, leading him into a battle against a much larger scheme.
Laurence Fishburne and Sam Elliott are among the new recruits, while Ryan Phillippe and Powers Boothe return. But “MacGruber” primarily underscores that the hunger to capitalize on existing titles (calling this “intellectual property” only seems half right) has led to a number of misguided revivals, few emptier than this.
“MacGruber” works overtime at feeling edgy (the gags are R-rated and then some), but that consists of variations on the same couple of jokes over and over, from Wiig’s character gushing about MacGruber’s sexual prowess to action sequences that end with oodles of blood.
“MacGyver,” of course, was renowned for his ability to cobble together useful devices out of ordinary materials, and even that show was revived by CBS. “MacGruber,” alas, doesn’t exhibit the same knack when it comes to making something out of nothing.
“MacGruber” premieres Dec. 16 on Peacock.
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