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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

MacGruber

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

When a screenwriter resorts to making abortion the subject of a joke, Catholic viewers at least can be certain he has hit the comic skids. And so it proves with director and co-writer Jorma Taccone's "MacGruber" (Rogue), the consistently vulgar, intermittently gruesome expansion of a recurring "Saturday Night Live" skit that Taccone penned with Will Forte and John Solomon.

Forte plays the title character, an ever-cocky, frequently decorated but disastrously incompetent special agent in the vein of the "Pink Panther" franchise's Inspector Clouseau.

Ten years before the action begins, MacGruber—reacting to the brutal murder of his wife by his nemesis, evil arms dealer Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer)—faked his own death to retire to a life of contemplation. Thus, some of the opening scenes show MacGruber living in an American Indian village in the Southwest, meditating or perhaps praying in the community's Catholic-looking chapel and dressed in a Franciscan-like brown robe.

However, when Von Cunth—the obscene wordplay on whose name typifies the low humor on display in this tasteless action spoof—gets hold of a nuclear missile and plots to launch it on Washington during the State of the Union address, MacGruber answers the summons of his former commander, Army Col. Faith (Powers Boothe), and returns to action. He's eventually aided in his mission by Faith's subordinate, Lt. Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillippe), and by an old friend, undercover operative-turned-pop-singer Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig).

MacGruber's juvenile antics include distracting Von Cunth's thugs by wedging a celery stalk between his bare buttocks and waving it at them. The audience also is subjected to crude scenes portraying MacGruber's supposedly comic sexual encounters, and to the bloody results of his favorite combat technique: ripping open his adversaries' throats.

Theirs are not the only gorges adversely affected.

The film contains much gory violence, graphic premarital sexual activity, upper female and rear nudity, frequent sexual and scatological humor, more than a dozen uses of profanity and pervasive rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O—morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R—restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.


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Matthew: Matthew was a Jew who worked for the occupying Roman forces, collecting taxes from other Jews. The Romans were not scrupulous about what the "tax farmers" got for themselves. Hence the latter, known as "publicans," were generally hated as traitors by their fellow Jews. The Pharisees lumped them with "sinners" (see Matthew 9:11-13). So it was shocking to them to hear Jesus call such a man to be one of his intimate followers. 
<p>Matthew got Jesus in further trouble by having a sort of going-away party at his house. The Gospel tells us that "many" tax collectors and "those known as sinners" came to the dinner. The Pharisees were still more badly shocked. What business did the supposedly great teacher have associating with such immoral people? Jesus' answer was, "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' I did not come to call the righteous but sinners" (Matthew 9:12b-13). Jesus is not setting aside ritual and worship; he is saying that loving others is even more important. </p><p>No other particular incidents about Matthew are found in the New Testament.</p> American Catholic Blog The most appealing invitation to embrace the religious life is the witness of our own lives, the spirit in which we react to our divine calling, the completeness of our dedication, the generosity and cheerfulness of our service to God, the love we have for one another, the apostolic zeal with which we witness to Christ’s love for the poorest of the poor.

 
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