Five years after Saturday Night Live went on the air in 1975, the first movie based on an SNL sketch, The Blues Brothers, was released. That film was one of the funniest comedies of the eighties and its success was made all the more special by the fact that movies based on sketches are rarely good.
The only successful SNL-based movie after that was Wayne’s World, but The Blues Brothers was the only one I really liked (although Wayne’s World has its moments), and it’s not hard to see why. An SNL sketch and a feature film are two different beasts. Just because MacGruber is funny for 30 seconds doesn’t mean it will be funny for 90 minutes. The very existence of the MacGruber movie undermines the concept’s origins because the reason why the bit was so funny on SNL was because of its short time length.
Based on the box office numbers and Rotten Tomatoes scores of most of these movies, I’m not the only one who thought there were too many, but that doesn’t mean I would be totally against them ever doing it again.
As a matter of fact, the SNL character who I think deserves her own movie the most is Kate McKinnon’s Olya Pavlotsky. A movie about the Russian twentysomething immigrating to the U.S. and clashing with American culture would be the most entertaining fish-out-of-water comedy since Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat travelled to the States from Kazakhstan.
I know that’s not the most creative idea, but it sounds more watchable than a movie about Stefon or Drunk Uncle. A movie should never be made from a sketch unless you can add an extra dimension to it, otherwise it’s gonna feel like a one-joke bit that goes on too long, and Olya is the only character I can think of who I wouldn’t get bored of watching for 90 minutes. Does anyone really care about MacGruber’s life story?