Apparently, the latest bomb that MacGruber can't defuse is his own movie.

"MacGruber," a facetious "Saturday Night Live" inversion of the old '80's "McGyver" series about a salvage genius who used common household items to build/defuse explosives and beat bad guys, made a paltry $4 million over the weekend.

So "MacGruber" - incompetent ying to McGyver's resourceful yang - failed to capture the public's imagination.

Kind of a shame, because if there's an anti-superhero for our times, it's this guy.

Seriously, when you read stories about BP trying (and repeatedly failing) to plug its deep water leak with golf balls, shredded tires and mud, doesn't that sound like a total MacGruber operation?

And the idea of drilling for oil in 5,000 feet of water (what could go wrong?) without any sort of plan to plug inevitable leaks, doesn't that also sound like MacGruber?

"Plans really aren't my thing" says MacGruber, whose first action-hero act in "MacGruber" is to accidentally blow up the car carrying his A-Team of counterinsurgent commandos.

MacGruber's absurdly heightened lack of competence is central to the way the movie mocks '80's iconography - there are obvious and intentional references to dominant period titles "Rambo" and "Die Hard," franchises that ruled a decade of Schwarzenegger-sized heros who projected Reagan-era American confidence.

Scrawny nincompoop MacGruber, it's safe to say, represents a reassessment of the era (think "Hot Tub Time Machine"). He drives a vintage Miata, and unplugs his portable Blaupunkt stereo whenever he hops out, a running joke in the movie at which I never stopped laughing.

Just as Arnold never met an adversary he couldn't conquer, tiny, whiny MacGruber never confronts a problem he can solve.

MacGruberism, though, isn't nostalgia. It's alive and only too well. MacGruber not only works at BP, he may also have designed the gas pedal on the Prius. Or Windows 2000. Surely it was MacGruber who came up with the no-income, no-asset, no-job home mortgage.

To make matters worse, there appear to be MacGrubers at almost every important federal regulatory agency charged with keeping on eye on private sector MacGrubers.

Remember when the Dow dropped 1,000 points in ten minutes a few weeks ago, something about high-frequency computer trading and missing circuit breakers?


Then, a hundred guys studied the problem and announced there was no way to tell what went wrong.


It goes without saying there are MacGrubers in D.C. - Sen. MacGrubers, U.S. Rep. MacGrubers. The sorry reelection record of incumbent politicians shows that American voters are convinced of this.

The only good news, I suppose, is that those who pose a threat to MacGruber America seem to be suffering from MacGruberism as well.

When they arrested the Pakistani guy who tried to make a MacGruber bomb out of gas, propane, firecrackers and a SpongeBob alarm clock, he asked investigators if they could explain why it didn't explode.

That guy has MacGruber written all over him.