Home > Vulture News > VULTURE DROPPINGS OF THE WEEK: ‘SNL’ Movie Spin-Offs


I’m well aware that what I’m about to say is, at this point, beyond stating the obvious — and adding insult to injury, considering MacGruber‘s disastrous opening weekend numbers — but here goes: movies spun off from short Saturday Night Live skits tend to suck. Plain and simple. What’s amusing for three or four minutes — the first time — becomes cloying on the big screen.

The ratio of good ones (The Blues Brothers) to bad ones (Coneheads) is staggering. Lorne Michaels may be a power producer on televison, but when it comes to film, he’s as clueless as MacGruber, the lovably dimwitted MacGyver parody played multiple times — and then some — by Will Forte.

The re-occuring sketch always features MacGruber unsuccessfully attempting to diffuse a bomb, which, ironically, is exactly what Forte, Michaels and Universal (the studio which had a hell of a losing streak this past year) did last weekend. Despite heavy marketing that desperately tried to pass MacGruber off as a Beverly Hills Cop-type action comedy and a fun throwback to Wayne’s World — the blockbuster SNL spin-off that was one of the highest grossing films of 1992 and is the reason they keep making ’em today — nobody showed up. MacGruber is just another SNL bomb that  couldn’t be diffused (Forte should go back to doing Pepsi commercials). Below are some of the other feature-length sketches that can be filed under “I can’t believe they turned that into a movie!”


1. Coneheads (1993)

Think aliens with cone-shaped heads sucking dust out of a vacuum cleaner is funny? Then this is the movie for you.


2. It’s Pat (1994)

This is the only scene that this movie is remembered for. It’s all downhill from there (although, I gotta admit I watched this as a kid dozens of times).


3. A Night At The Roxbury (1998)

Besides a running gag where Will Ferrel recalls meeting the actor Emilio Estevez to anybody who will listen (“I was like, ‘Emilio!'”), this movie offers few laughs.


4. Superstar (1999)

Molly Shannon is a great comedic supporting actress. A lead? Not so much.


5. The Ladies Man (2000)

By the time this hit theaters, the Ladies Man’s charm had all but worn off: it grossed less than $14 million. For an art film, that’s great. For a wannabe commercial film, it’s, well, you get the picture.

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