Impractical Jokers: The Movie (2020)
Director: Chris Henchy
Writers: Chris Henchy, Joe Gatto, James Murray, Brian Quinn, and Sal Vulcano
Starring: Brian Quinn, Joe Gatto, James “Murr” Murray, Sal Volcano, and Paula Abdul
Plot: The Impractical Jokers take a road trip to Miami, while doing their signature challenges to see who gets to go to a party held by Paula Abdul.
Review: Have you visited a house that has basic cable in the last nine years? If so, you probably know exactly who the Impractical Jokers are. Their show is massive. It’s basically taken over their channel, truTV. It’s on all… the… time. Personally, I love it. I remember my manager at work telling me about it years ago and then rushing home to binge watch the first two seasons. Since then, I haven’t really kept up but I do find myself just zoning out for a few hours at a time when I have access to live tv. It’s just such an easy to watch, no thought required, crowd-pleasing show. So, I was really excited when I learned they were making a movie… until I saw the trailer. Unfortunately, Impractical Jokers: The Movie is scripted (or at least a big chunk of it is). For a group of friends that really lives and dies on their natural chemistry and improv skills that seemed like an odd choice. Turns out, I was right. Half of this movie is enjoyable and put a smile on my face, but the other half… yeesh. It’s not pretty.
I really, really, really don’t understand who made the decision to make this a narrative, scripted film. A documentary following these guys around on a national tour, with their typical prank sketches thrown in seems like a much better idea. It would’ve been natural and interesting and funny. How do I know that? Because these guys are just naturally interesting and funny. I wanted to spend more time with them, not who they see themselves as (and definitely not Paula Abdul). Instead, we got some of the most awkward, stiff comedy I’ve seen in a long time. It’s almost unfair to criticize the acting because, well, they’re not actors. But, they put themselves into this situation. Each and every second of them acting felt like a cheesy commercial for the show that you’d roll your eyes at before trying to fastfoward back to the actual program.
Speaking of the show, Impractical Jokers: The Movie worked best when they just let them do what they’re best at, being the Impractical Jokers. The pranks (as always) are pretty funny. Sure, some of them fall flat but that’s almost inevitable. I really liked how they raised the bar a bit from the show too. They’re not at White Castle or your local CVS now. This stuff includes the Washington Monument and the Atlanta Hawks training facility. Overall, the unscripted segments should make fans of the show happy. Is it worth making a movie out of? Probably not. You could get just as much enjoyment if not more by just binge watching a couple episodes at home. But, again, that has a lot to do with the scripted parts taking up half the movie. Without those, they probably would’ve been able to experiment with the big budget pranks more. If Jackass can get three unscripted, big budget movies where they just do a more extreme version of their show, the Impractical Jokers should be able to at least get one.
TL;DR: With half of Impractical Jokers: The Movie being unfunny scripted segments, you might have more fun just binge watching a couple episodes of the show at home.
Score: 5/10 (Meh)