Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
MacGruber Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Big-screen SNL skit explodes with crass humor, sex, blood.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 99 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 9 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

MacGruber is not meant to be a message movie -- it's filled with crass humor, sex jokes, constant profanity, and non-stop violence. But it's all a big joke, so viewers are not meant to take it seriously. Also, MacGruber is on the side of the good guys, even if his motives are mostly personal.

Positive Role Models & Representations

MacGruber is a flat-out terrible role model (though viewers would be hard-pressed to look to him as one). He exhibits endlessly stupid behavior, which is all part of his odd charm. He's not a team player, and often risks the lives of his teammates ahead of his own.


The movie is filled with gory violence, all played for humor. For example, MacGruber is an expert at ripping people's throats out, which he does, several times, with nothing left to the imagination. There are innumerable guns, bullets fired, and dead bodies. Blood is sprayed and smeared. There are explosions, with characters caught inside and burned. Vicki graphically digs a bullet out of MacGruber's thigh. A nuclear warhead is at the center of the plot.


The bottoms of two male characters are occasionally on display, and more than once with celery stalks sticking out. (The men are naked, but their genitals are not visible.) There are also two loud sex scenes, with no nudity (other than male hindquarters), but very graphic all the same. They involve graphic thrusting and language. Additionally, strong sexual language is heard throughout the movie, including a gay joke, reference to "date rape," and MacGruber telling an explicit story about a college girlfriend. An older woman who is posing as an artist's model is seen partly naked (one breast exposed), and some sexy pictures are seen on a wall.


Extremely strong language is used throughout, starting with dozens of uses of "f--k" and "s--t," as well as "asshole," "dick," "vagina," "God," "Goddamn," "bastard," "retard," and "butt." Characters are seen extending the middle finger. Additionally, the villain played by Val Kilmer is named "Dieter Von Cunth," and characters get no end of enjoyment saying his last name again and again.


Stuck in the 1980s, MacGruber drives a Mazda Miata and listens to a Blaupunkt stereo (the latter of which is mentioned by name several times). Several mentions of Molsen beer, Coors Light appears in one shot, as does Tazo tea. There's also a reference to a product called an "incredi-mop," which doesn't appear to exist in real life.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The heroes casually drink beer in one scene.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that MacGruber is an action/comedy based on a series of Saturday Night Live sketches. During the transition to the big screen, the creators have added tons of foul language (everything from "f--k" to plays on the word "c--t"), extreme violence (including blood splatter and throats ripped out by hand) played for laughs, and sexual behavior that include some nude male bottoms and some graphic sexual noises. The movie also includes a good deal of gay humor, such as a brief kissing scene between two men played for laughs, and a couple scenes where MacGruber graphically propositions other men as a misguided bargaining tool. It's one of those movies whose goal is to make the audience laugh through increasing levels of shock, rather than actual jokes.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJosh Robbins May 9, 2019

Great Satire Movie

I absolutely love this Satire masterpiece of an action movie.. it's so bad it's great!

The entire movie is just the main guy being a total idiot thro... Continue reading
Parent of a 18+-year-old Written byA Caring Mother April 15, 2019
Teen, 14 years old Written byStevie111 March 5, 2012

Pretty funny crude comedy

Crude humor and sexuality. Some bloody violence and nudity. A teen could probably handle it, and enjoy it more than and adult.
Teen, 14 years old Written byferhall August 3, 2011

It is violent but teens should have no problem

It is violent, has sex and language. These things are used to make the movie funny. If your kid is 12-15 it is a judgment call. It is not a great movie but is v... Continue reading

What's the story?

The villainous businessman Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer) steals a nuclear warhead and plans to fire it at Washington DC. The Pentagon contacts the one man who can stop him, the decorated veteran soldier MacGruber (Will Forte), who wears a mullet and relies on reckless gut instinct rather than careful planning. Along with his teammates Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig) and Lt. Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillippe), he charges into one situation after another, trying to snatch the secret codes for the warhead, and then to find the warhead itself. Will he be too late? And worse, will Vicki make MacGruber forget about his vow of celibacy?

Is it any good?

This movie isn't smart enough or focused enough to qualify as a parody. On Saturday Night Live, MacGruber usually gets less than two minutes to diffuse a bomb, but is distracted at the last second, and everyone is blown to smithereens. Despite the repetitive formula, those sketches amuse with their attempt to parody action movies and TV shows from 1980s and 1990s (especially MacGyver, who also relied on everyday objects instead of guns). The MACGRUBER movie, instead, just tries to keep the audience constantly off-balance with increasing amounts of shock humor, including some over-the-top violence, and two cringe-worthy sex scenes.

Depending on your sense of humor, MacGruber is either vaguely interesting as the movie tries to top itself with gross-out violence and sexual humor, or full of laugh-out-loud crude jokes. Also, MacGruber is a supremely self-centered character, and with so much attention paid to his antics, talented supporters Kilmer, Wiig and Phillippe are more or less relegated to the sidelines. Director Jorma Taccone occasionally passes the time with some cheesy (and nostalgically funny) 1980s power pop. Teens won't get all the references to the '80s, but they'll still find MacGruber's dorky character oddly appealling and the crude humor endlessly delightful (and, perhaps unfortunately for parents, all too quotable).

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's extreme violence. Was it necessary? Did it make you laugh, or did you feel squeamish? How did the humorous nature of the movie temper the violence?

  • How did the movie's sex scenes and sexual references affect you? Did they make you uncomfortable? Did they make you laugh? Why?

  • Is the movie a parody? If so, what was it parodying? What makes a good (and bad) parody?

Movie details

  • In theaters: May 21, 2010
  • On DVD or streaming: September 7, 2010
  • Cast: Kristen Wiig, Ryan Phillippe, Will Forte
  • Studio: Rogue Pictures
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Run time: 99 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: strong crude and sexual content, violence, language and some nudity
  • Last updated: September 21, 2019

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