Written by: Chris Henchy, Joe Gatto, James Murray, Brian Quinn, Sal Vulcano
Starring: Brian Quinn, Joe Gatto, James Murray, Sal Vulcano
Different mediums deliver entertainment in varying ways for consumers. Some material can translate in different forms, but others like Impractical Jokers: The Movie, demonstrates that some properties should stay in their lane. The whole idea of this film existing baffles me to no end because it barely counts as a narrative feature film.
Four lifelong friends: Q, Murr, Sal, and Joe attend a Paula Abdul concert back in 1994 where they interrupt her concert and thus come up with the idea for a television show. 25 years later, after having successfully created this show, they got invited to a party in Miami with Paula Abdul but only three passes were given. As they travel down for the party, the four jokers decide to utilize their show to determine which three will go to the party and who will be left behind.
Hearing a film about the Impractical Jokers actually existed confused me to no end. For those who have never watched their series on TruTv, it centers on the four friends as they compete to see how much they can put the others in embarrassing situations, and the one who racks up the most losses in an episode receives an embarrassment punishment. Some of the challenges include walking up to different people and asking them to sign a petition for ridiculous causes or presenting something to a focus group where the jokers need to explain the ridiculous content created by the others. This reality-style show does not offer high art, but it definitely has its entertainment value to see just how far they’re able to go in embarrassing themselves for our enjoyment. My wife and I watch the show for some after-work comedic entertainment but the idea of turning this into a feature film interested me because nothing about their set up lends to making a movie.
As I suspected, I was proven right because this film completely fails as a narrative feature. The whole set up with Paula Abdul stretches beyond stupidity and the journey down to Florida creates a disingenuous use of their series to tell a non-existent story. Breaking down the plot will leave you scratching your head because it does not amass to anything, especially when seeing them utilizing their challenges in order to decide a plot point. It simply does not work on any level narratively.
The best parts of the movie come from the challenges they do on their way down to this party. It gives you the chance to forget about this non-existent narrative and pretend you’re just watching the show. The bits definitely worked as they usually do, as these friends place each other in embarrassing situations having to say ridiculous things to complete strangers. This works because it’s their bread and butter and what gave them the opportunity to be at a place where they can make a pointless film. While I acknowledge these moments work, it still does not justify why this was rammed into a movie.
Essentially, Impractical Jokers: The Movie can be summarized as two episodes of their show with some half-assed plot shown at the very beginning and end to give it some semblance of a narrative. While I appreciate these guys trying to take a little idea they had many years ago to make a show with their best friends, this never had a purpose as a narrative feature film. Every scene with Paula Abdul serves no real reason and by the end of it all, I was just left shaking my head in disbelief.
Impractical Jokers will continue to be a series one can sit back and enjoy without thinking too much about any sort of plot or stakes. It remains something one can watch and enjoy people getting embarrassed by their best friends. Brian Quinn, Joe Gatto, Sal Vulcano, and James Murray all had the opportunity to live their dreams and create something fun with their friends. I respect their show, but as I have said several times during this review, it does not lend itself to be a feature film and thus must stand as a failure. You can enjoy the bits of what would normally be in their show, but other than that it gives you no reason to watch it.