Impractical Jokers: The Movie

  • 18 Apr - 24 Apr, 2020
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Reviews

They’re called the Impractical Jokers, four Staten Island man-children whose harmlessly juvenile, undeniably chuckle-worthy prank show began invigorating TruTV back in 2011.

In Impractical Jokers: The Movie, these childhood friends take their act to the multiplex, where the stakes demand to be raised. Considering there are more than 200 episodes of the series and countless YouTube videos of the group to gorge on, a move to the big screen needs a higher purpose, either in its storytelling or its risk-taking. Under the competent, if anonymous, direction of Chris Henchy, we are provided with no creative justification for the move, unless one is either an Impractical Jokers completist or keenly interested to see whether the boys can successfully read scripted dialogue. Impractical Jokers: The Movie is an undistinguished and unnecessary extension of a brand whose primary attributes are likability, authenticity and relative modesty (given the worst impulses of the genre). This limited release is mainly a gift for fans, whereas the uninitiated will be lightly amused if a bit baffled at how the group achieved such fame as to warrant an exhibition last year at the Staten Island Museum.

Joe Gatto, James Murray, Brian Quinn and Sal Vulcano met in high school and eventually formed a comedy troupe called The Tenderloins. Their TruTV show was an outlier on a network better known for reality offerings. The new film mimics the show’s format while interweaving a thin narrative to justify the hidden camera challenges. Playing off the group’s longtime friendship, the movie begins with a fictional origin story that takes places in Staten Island in 1994 where the boys hatch a plan to sneak into a Paula Abdul concert.

Establishing that they are game for anything, they sneak into Abdul’s show dressed as security but eventually get tossed. 30 years later, the now-famous Jokers run into Abdul, who invites them to a party in Miami. When they’re given three tickets instead of four, the competition is on, with the loser forced to sit out Abdul’s shindig.

All in all, the movie proves that some pranks are better pulled on the small screen.