It’s admittedly a money grab.
But that doesn’t mean “Impractical Jokers: The Movie” isn’t funny, because it is. It will appeal to fans of the series, which began in 2011, as well as newcomers who may not be familiar with the television show.
If you’re a newbie to the docu-series that stars four friends from Staten Island, here’s the deal: They assign each other challenges and stunts, with three speaking to the prankster through a hidden earpiece while the challenger plays tricks on unsuspecting strangers.
It’s a little like “Jackass” but with more involvement of the general public and fewer dangerous stunts and less pain. The series and the movie bear a strong resemblance to the great-granddaddy of all these shows: “Candid Camera,” a television series that ran from 1960 to 1975 and captured reactions of unsuspecting people to quirky setups.
In the film, there’s a skinny plot connecting all of the challenges: It seems the pranksters started their high jinks at a Paula Abdul concert.
The lineup is Q (Brian Quinn), Murr (James Murray,) Sal (Sal Vulcano) and Joe (Joe Gatto).
I won’t go into the details, but the plot transitions into a years-later road trip, in which the four pals make their way to an Abdul concert. Problem is, they have only three passes. So they decide to give each other challenges, with the least successful guy the one who doesn’t attend the concert.
The framework encompasses the same bits you see on the show:
- They visit the Mall in Washington, D.C., and ask strangers to give their opinions on highly inappropriate eulogies they have planned (they even have an urn in tow).
- They pretend to be stranded motorists and make things woefully difficult for those kindly folks who stop to help them.
- One pretends to have been lost for decades and emerges, during a tour of a cave, to ramble about how he got lost and then ask the startled tourists, “Who shot J.R.?”
- Another bit involves actor Jaden Smith, who’s in on the joke, along with an overzealous, wild-eyed fan and a tattoo.
- One of the funniest sketches includes Q’s parents. It’s hilarious.
This isn’t what you’d call highbrow comedy, but a lot of the sequences are clever. They’re especially funny because of the reactions of the unsuspecting people who find themselves involved.
Fans will appreciate references to Larry (look carefully at a license plate) and other nods especially for those who follow the show.
Even if you've never seen a TV episode, if you enjoy seeing a bunch of friends acting as silly as possible, you’ll find it worthwhile. I like the breezy, devil-may-care attitude of these longtime pals and the way they give each other a rough time every chance they get, knowing full well they will be the butt of the joke the next time around — possibly within minutes.