By Lexi Carder
Warning! The following program contains scenes of graphic stupidity among four lifelong friends who compete to embarrass each other.
Impractical Jokers has been a comedic hidden camera television show, produced by NorthSouth Productions since late 2011 until Feb 21, 2020, when Impractical Jokers: The Movie premiered and was added to the franchise. Unlike the show, the movie is produced by Funny or Die in conjunction with truTV. It is premiering in select theaters, Regal Grand Central Mall being the closest location in a 50-mile radius, with the hope of worldwide distribution if the #breaktheboxoffice works.
Leading up to the premiere of the movie, there were plenty of revealing trailers which was a downside because they spoiled critical bits. Although, there were still some humorous surprises.
The film introduces Joe, Sal, Q and Murr playing themselves as Staten Island teenagers in 1992 who try to sneak into a Paula Abdul concert as security guards and proceed to embarrassingly wreak havoc. 25 years later, they have evolved into the Jokers that the real world knows them as, pranking parents and kids with a Mall Santa segment in the middle of the summer. Afterward, they go to Red Lobster for some obvious product placement and Paula Abdul happens to be eating there. Having forgotten that they once trashed her concert, she’s now a fan of theirs and gives them three VIP passes for her show in Miami. The four decide that they’ll turn back the clock and embark on a New York to Miami road trip to compete in hidden camera challenges, and whoever loses can’t go. When they crack this plot, they all look right at the camera and pause.
Chris Henchy, writer, producer and director, does a terrific job of putting this movie together and having no prior experience with improvisational hidden camera work. He seems to always curate the best shots and angles of the Jokers and their antics. He throws in a lot of celebrity cameos throughout the film that somehow work with the overall plot.
The movie plot is completely fictional however the challenges are reality based. The plot and the reality aspect are connected through a few running themes; what Murr does in his free time, the Paula Abdul show and redeeming themselves after their humiliating mishap in high school. They break the fourth wall in almost every scripted scene, which is a testament to their acting skills. Their dialogue seemed completely natural, except in the scripted parts just like the show, but of course that could be due to them being friends for over 25 years.
Henchy’s cinematography throughout the entire 93 minutes is drastically different from the show. It appears that the movie budget was well spent on equipment, like cameras and lights, to make the movie better than the show. There is still the same amount of references to Staten Island, the Jokers’ hometown, as there are in their show. Although, the movie does differ from the show in that each Joker has to endure solo punishments throughout the movie. For example, Sal must come face-to-face with a tiger and he is forced to get another Jaden Smith tattoo.
Paula Abdul’s 1988 hit, “Forever Your Girl,” seems to be the basis of the movie’s soundtrack. They do some remixes of it throughout the whole movie along with a few other unnoticeable music pieces.
According to Sal, this movie was made for the fans and that is very true. If you are not a fan of the Impractical Jokers, this movie will make no sense to you.