From The Blues Brothers to MacGruber, Saturday Night Live has a rich tradition of adapting their most popular sketches into feature length comedies. While they range in quality from the hilarious Wayne’s World to the intersexphobic It’s Pat, audiences are always excited for the next SNL movie.
The Saturday Night Live Movie, released exclusively on broadcast television last night at 11:30pm, met but did not exceed my expectations. Running for exactly 90 minutes, it contained a variety of sketches featuring the current cast and host Scarlett Johansson, two musical performances by Lorde, one commercial parody, and several actual commercials I recognized from real life.
The political cold open was excellent, if perhaps a little too ephemeral. I would have liked to see the writers focus on creating catchphrases that become part of our daily vernacular (e.g. “Superstar!” or “Shwing!”) instead of recycling the worn out “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” To quote Tina Fey, “Stop trying to make ‘Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!’ happen.”
The opening credits were very cool. We get a peak inside the personal lives of the film’s cast, although some of these actors should stick to characters, and not try and be “natural” – yikes. The whole sequence was edited together with a visual flair reminiscent of Saul Bass.
I won’t get into specifics about the monologue scene or the sketch scenes, but suffice to say some were better than others. The last sketch of the film was the least funny, but was also kind of weird and original too, and I keep thinking about it days later.
If you like Saturday Night Live, and the movies they inspire, I recommend The Saturday Night Live Movie, with the caveat that it’s hit and miss and not as good as the show used to be.
What the rest of the critics are saying:
“What a terrific idea to make a movie composed of whimsical comic scenes interrupted by a couple of musical performances by one of our current era’s most promising singers! I tip my hat to the producer, Lorne Michaels. If he keeps this up, I’m sure he will have a long and distinguished career in the pictures.” – Anthony Lane, The New Yorker
“Though amusing for what it is, all the references to pop culture and current events suggest this film will not have staying power in the long run.” – TomTom Jackson Jones, Newark Star-Ledger
“The eye popping energy of the cast makes up for nearly all of the jokes falling flat.” – Bertha Channis, Flavorwire
“I found the inclusion of a live audience as part of the feature film experience to be an exhilarating innovation, especially now that we watch most movies alone at home.” – James Berardelli, ReelViews
“At first I was upset about the inclusion of commercials in a movie. Commercials are for TV, you know? But then I noticed some of the commercials were so silly and absurd that they had to be created just to lampoon the idea of commercials being in a movie.” – Eric D. Snider, EricDSnider.com
“Yesterday I was surprised to receive a call from a Comcast Universal publicist inviting me to a ‘secret screening’ of a brand new feature film. I received no title, cast or synopsis and was dismayed to learn the only screening was at 11:30pm which is past my bedtime. I dutifully took a nap in the afternoon so I would be fresh and ready for the film that evening. Imagine my disappointment when the film turned out to be nothing more than an episode of Saturday Night Live, the long running late night TV series.” – Thumiso Neepawa, Miami Herald
“A talented cast is constrained by half baked writing and geriatric production.” – Albania Vasquez, Variety
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