Why ‘MacGruber’ Needs to Be R-Rated


The other day when an interview with Bill Hader came out that discussed the upcoming concepts behind the feature-length MacGruber film, the reactions were mostly negative. Not because Hader claimed that he wanted the film to be R-rated (after proclaiming that he’d made information up in interviews before), but because most people don’t seem to be too keen on the movie.

I can’t say I’m super excited about it either, but I am thrilled at the possibility that it could be R-rated.

Here’s why.

Saturday Night Live has had a mixed track record with movies ranging from the genius of The Blues Brothers to the mediocrity of It’s Pat! which is clearly one reason for concern. The other seems to be that the sketch itself is short, sweet and always ends the same.

But doesn’t the very nature of that sketch demand a killer R-rating? Here are a few points:

  • The shortness and meaningless lends itself to an R-rating. I realize I’m a major fan of R-rated comedies, but I think if a film is going to be absurd, it has a rare opportunity to push boundaries, and I’d hate for it to be held back by something as arbitrary as a rating.
  • It has the potential to surprise everyone. This movie is in the unique position to come out of the gate swinging like few films can. The reaction to its development was almost all negative or apathetic, but with an R-rating, the film could soar over that incredibly low bar that’s been set in order to become a surprise hit for the year. It’s basically like if the Where’s Waldo? film went hard R and shocked everyone by being genius. Which, yes, I’m also pulling for.
  • Why the hell not? Akin to the argument I just made, it seems like there’s absolutely nothing to lose with this movie. Either it lives up to mediocre expectations or it rockets past them to entertain a ton of people. With a movie like this, it seems highly doubtful that there will be much disparity between PG-13 ticket sale potential and R ticket sale potential.

I think we all realize that it’s going to be a movie-long “MacGuyver” parody, and I actually think that’s kind of cool. With the prospect that it can be as strange and challenging as it wants to be without limitations on how many times they can drop the F-bomb or talk about taints, I’m even more on board.

That’s right. I’m talking deeply about the possible comedy of what amounts to a Pepsi commercial.

What say you?

A veteran of writing about movies for nearly a decade, Scott Beggs has been the Managing Editor of Film School Rejects since 2009. Despite speculation, he is not actually Walter Mathau's grandson. See? He can't even spell his name right.

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