Comedy troupe “The Tenderloins” make their big-screen debut in director Chris Henchy’s Impractical Jokers: The Movie from Funny or Die and truTv. In 1994, four friends, Joe Gatto, Sal Vulcano, Brian Quinn, and James Murray, were involved in an incident at a Paula Abdul concert. The incident results in the group deciding that videotaping dares is an excellent way of making a living, and the show Impractical Jokers is born.
Years later, the show is a success, and in an ironic twist of fate, the foursome runs into Abdul at a local Red Lobster. Abdul recognizes the group from their hit comedy show and not from the 1994 incident. Abdul invites the group to a party in Miami, with full VIP access, but only gives them three passes. The group then decides to drive cross-country to Miami, competing in a series of pranks, with the loser not going to the concert.
Adaptations of TV shows into movies is nothing new, however with reality-based shows, the question of, “why would you pay for something in the theater, that you can watch at home” arises? For it’s a simple answer, there’s nothing like the big screen. While I consider myself more of a casual fan of the show Impractical Jokers, my wife, and son are faithful viewers of the show.
Walking into the film, I generally knew what the concept of the show was and expected to see a ninety-minute adaption of the series, with the envelope-pushing a bit further. To my surprise, screenwriters Chris Henchy, Joe Gatto, James Murray, Brian Quinn, Sal Vulcano craft a successful linear story centered on the show’s concept.
The plot is a simplistic one, granted movies like this don’t need to be overly complicated. However, the pranks in the film as the friends try to one-up another are what saves the film. Some of the capers in the movie include an Atlanta Hawks interview, a tiger in a Motel Room, and reading fake eulogies on the National Mall. One of the pranks that feature one of the Jokers as “Bat Boy” is worth the price of admission alone. I also enjoyed the extended cameos for Paula Abdul and Jaden Smith, both of whom are clearly in on the jokes.
The one area where Impractical Jokers: The Movie doesn’t succeed is the backstory for the group. Having the group portray the younger version of themselves is a mistake as the wigs and make-up have the quality of a high school drama production. While I understand this is a lower budget film, I’m sure the studio could’ve found lookalikes for the group. I would’ve also liked to see all of the Joker’s families in the film. The only Jokers who get somewhat of a backstory are Brian Quinn and Sal Vulcano. There’s a running joke throughout the film that tries to paint James Murray as a mysterious figure, and while the set-up is interesting, we never get a punchline ending.
Nevertheless, I do recommend that fans of the show make the trip to the theater to see Impractical Jokers: The Movie. The film stays true to it shows roots, while providing enough laughs for novice viewers.
Final Grade C+