April 10, 2020
Box Office $10.69 million;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for suggestive content, language, some drug references and brief nudity.
Stars Brian Quinn, Joe Gatto, James Murray, Sal Vulcano, Paula Abdul, Jaden Smith, Joey Fatone.
The “Impractical Jokers” TV series has run for eight seasons on truTV since 2011, using a hidden camera format of four comedians competing with each other to prank members of the public and embarrass themselves in the process.
Fans of the show will be happy to know the movie doesn’t veer from the formula, aside from using a framing story to get the guys on a road trip as an excuse to stage the challenges.
In 1994, the four pals — Joe, Murr, Q and Sal — are high school studios who pose as security officers to sneak into a Paula Abdul concert, which they manage to interrupt and ruin. Cut to 25 years later, and they’re the famous Impractical Jokers who manage to run into Abdul at dinner one night. She doesn’t remember them from their concert antics, but she does recognize them from TV, and invites them to an invite-only party with her in Miami.
Unfortunately, she inadvertently gives them only three passes, so the guys agree to take a road trip from New York to Florida in which they compete in a series of challenges, and the loser can’t go to the party.
One doesn’t need to have seen the TV show to enjoy the movie, but I’m sure it helps. For those who haven’t seen the show, the comedy of the early flashback scenes might seem a bit rough around the edges, but the movie gets better as it goes once it becomes more about the challenges. And some of them are real doozies, from trying to convince a group of boaters not to help a stranded war vet to giving a bogus job interview with the Atlanta Hawks.
The reality show vibe is not unlike the “Jackass” movies or “Bad Grandpa,” with much of the humor stemming from the improvisational nature of the pranks and the genuine reaction of the public.