Impractical Jokers: The Movie finally allows something from TruTV to finally break out. While I thought hidden camera shows went out with casual cocaine use, I’m not shocked to see it is enjoying a vibrant second life. Seriously, their existence just confirms a theory I always had about mainstream comedy. That shit has done past me by.
While I’m not going to call Reality TV to be avant-garde or anything, it is what the vast majority of people seem to like. But, if everyone jumped off the Empire State Building would you? The answer is Yes if I got a middlin’ influencer to dub it the Sick Air Challenge and got that noise to go viral. You’d be a wet mark on top of a taxi before I finished this review.
Comedy has gone so weird now. While there is truly something for everyone, segmenting humor down to individual aesthetic has created too wide of a marketplace. Anything flies and everything floats, so why are we taking the time to discuss a movie that got a quick release in the weeks after the Super Bowl? Well, it’s because I know some readers who followed this film from its development in 2018 to its early 2020 release.
What the Impractical Jokers do well is know their audience. They want digestible entertainment that sets humor, a game of sorts and a resolution. Quick hits that move the action based on what’s on hand and the jokes they want to land. Narrative doesn’t quite matter so much, as they need to keep people committed to the act.
If they don’t, well they get punished. While we do get to see the Jokers get beat up a bit…the film strays too far away from what makes the show work. The film has a story setup that is a bit contrived. Apparently, some of the Jokers worked security for Paula Abdul back in the 1990s. After meeting Paula Abdul at a Red Lobster, they get invited to a special party in Miami. Unfortunately, she only left three tickets. Now, the four friends have to find out what matters most in life.
Somewhere between the Joey Fatone cameo, Will Ferrell showing up for the Funny or Die tie-in and the fact that Paula Abdul chills out at Red Lobster…it was a bit much. Yet, it feels like the kind of vehicle that TV stars used to make feature length debuts. The comedy works, but the need to make everything else frame up is a bit hacky. While everything can’t be Jackass, films like this show what the Dickhouse guys get right vs. their later follow-ups.
If an audience already knows who you are, then you don’t need to sell them on extra crap. Just go bigger on what you do amazingly. Otherwise, you’re just padding out an excuse to get people to pay premium prices for the same old stuff. I applaud Warner Brothers for shortening the theatrical to home window during the pandemic. Let’s just get some better stuff out there.
Now, I wait for the Impractical Jokers fans to tear me up.