Some envision hell as an eternity of pain, fire and brimstone. Others believe it is an infinite abyss of darkness. For me, at this very moment, my vision of hell is being forced to watch the “Impractical Jokers” crew perform their dreadfully unfunny, hidden-camera pranks until the end of time.
The Staten Island-based “comedy” team (Brian Quinn, James Murray, Sal Vulcano and Joe Gatto) has been a mainstay of truTV’s lineup since 2011. That means “the boys” of “Impractical Jokers” have been around for almost a decade and have aired well over 200 episodes. If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking the same thing I am: How?!
Impractical Jokers: The Movie is essentially the long-form version of the TV show, only with the baffling decision to take up half the movie’s run time with an incredibly thin plot about the gang trying to get to a Paula Abdul concert after wronging the singer back in the mid-’90s by storming her stage show. The filmmakers decide not to exploit the hidden-camera elements that made this group so successful, but instead give them scripted dialogue that consists of some of the least amusing gags I’ve witnessed in quite some time.
Now, you would expect the hidden-camera pranks to be where the film shines, but you’d be wrong. From a disgruntled mall Santa to a fake job-interview scenario, none of the sequences are creative in any way. And, worst of all, the group of guys performing them either give up on the act halfway through the prank or just laugh like doofuses at each other offscreen to compensate for the fact that the pedestrians they’re pranking aren’t really giving the extreme reactions they want.
In the midst of my personal, seemingly endless nightmare of watching Impractical Jokers: The Movie in a theater, I was struck by how much this crew wanted to be like MTV‘s “Jackass.” But, whether you appreciate the “Jackass” gang’s debauchery or not, there’s a sense of commitment you get from them that’s lacking here. Johnny Knoxville & Co. put their bodies on the line and pushed the boundaries of taste to the very extreme just to get a laugh. The “Impractical Jokers” don’t do that. They can’t even put effort into their own stupidity.