'Impractical Jokers: The Movie' Review
It’s rare for a TV channel to distribute a movie. But “Impractical Jokers” has been so successful for TruTV over the past 8 years that the folks at WarnerMedia Entertainment decided to put a fresh content, feature-length film in theaters.
If you’re not up to speed, the “Impractical Jokers” team is basically the modern-day “Jackass” crew. I’ve never watched any of the show’s 200 episodes. But I attended “Impractical Jokers: The Movie” with someone who has — and who laughed at all the inside jokes and new outrageous hijinks from lifelong Staten Island buds “Q”, “Murr”, “Sal” and “Joe”.
Although much of the film consists of silly hidden camera “challenges”, in which the guys prank each other and complete strangers, there is an actual framework: In the early ‘90s, the Jokers went to a Paula Abdul concert and things didn’t go well. 25 years later they happen to see her at a Red Lobster. She doesn’t remember what happened all those years ago, but it turns out she’s a big fan of the “Impractical Jokers” show.
Abdul invites them to a party in Miami — but only gives them three VIP lanyards. So, to decide who doesn’t go to the party, the guys come-up with 10 challenges for their road trip to South Beach. Whoever loses the most of these battles along the way doesn’t get to par-tay!
There are challenges involving eulogies, tattoos and tigers (oh my!), a caveman, a boat and a social media conference. Diehard fans of the show will laugh consistently throughout all of them. From an outsider’s perspective, there is enough entertainment value to make “Impractical Jokers: The Movie” a fun experience.
Not surprisingly, some of the situations have better payoffs than others. A few get a bit extreme (like the one involving the tiger) and come-off as less spontaneous and authentic. But what makes things work, for the most part, is that these guys are always positive. They never use their hijinks to put other people down — they just want to see how far they can get them to go.
The film’s best segment involves the four friends being interviewed, one at a time, for a job with the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. They feed each other lines through microphones and earpieces. It’s pretty close to comedy gold.
But once all the challenges are over, the final chunk of “Impractical Jokers: The Movie” doesn’t have the same spark (though there are a few celebrity cameos to watch for). The same goes for other scripted scenes sprinkled-in throughout. It would have worked much better, after the introductory backstory section, to simply let the Jokers to their thing.
As is the case with the “Jackass” movies, “IM: The Movie” takes advantage of a TV show’s popularity, with slightly more outrageous and extreme shenanigans for the big screen. The “Jackass” films, including 2013’s Oscar-nominated “Bad Grandpa”, have been very successful at the box office. No doubt “Impractical Jokers: The Movie” will be a hit with the show’s legion of fans.
And for newcomers (like me) — it’s worth the ride.