"Impractical Jokers: The Movie" Movie Review
The poster for Impractical Jokers: The Movie rationalizes the film’s existence by exclaiming “the small screen couldn’t hold them”. Couldn’t it, though? Really? For eight seasons, the four Staten Island gents (Murr, Q, Joe, and Sal) have made a living on truTV pulling Jackass-lite pranks on each other and the unsuspecting public—whether it’s making a scene in a restaurant (several times a season), getting your eyebrows shaved off, or, yes, actually marrying your buddy’s sister, all in the name of laughs.
There’s not much the Jokers haven’t done to each other already, and there’s certainly nothing offered here that warrants an upgrade to the big screen. While it would have been easy (and smart) to give us an uncensored, “too crazy for TV” version of their pranks, the Jokers don’t even do that… which makes this obviously a simple cash-grab and/or a marketing ploy to up their viewership. Impractical Jokers: The Movie is the equivalent of three half-hour TV episodes crammed together (with a paper-thin theme connecting them), which begs the question—why spend money and time on something you can see from the comfort of your own couch on any given night? (It’s essentially the only thing on truTV’s schedule, so re-airs abound.)
The paper-thin theme that apparently necessitates a full-length feature film (at least in the Jokers’ minds) is the existence of Paula Abdul. Following a 25-years-ago prologue that finds the quartet crashing (and burning) one of the pop singer’s concerts by dressing as security guards, we shift back to the present to find the guys arguing over Cheddar Bay Biscuits at Red Lobster. Just then Abdul comes over to their table and proclaims her love for their work, offering them tickets to an upcoming party she’s hosting in Miami, oblivious it was these four bozos who ruined her concert years earlier. But she mistakenly gives them only three tickets, so they solve the issue the only way they know how—agreeing to hold an Impractical competition as they road trip down the East Coast; the loser gets left out in the cold.
Whether it’s rehearsing the worst eulogies you’ve ever heard in front of D.C. tourists or subjecting the Atlanta Hawks HR department to god-awful job interviews, the Jokers bring their usual brand of semi-outrageousness to the festivities. Some of the pranks work, some fall flatter than an overdone soufflé, but the four fellas never stop belly-laughing their way through it. In fact, the funniest moments in the movie come not from the jokes themselves but from the Jokers’ reactions to their own hijinks. Even the callback to a prank pulled way back in season three of their TV show fulls mildly flat—though give them credit for the institutional memory.
There’s no question show devotees will find stuff to chuckle at (and perhaps outright laugh at) in the full-length film, and I suppose it’s possible the Jokers even earn a few new fans, but when the smoke clears, there’s nothing here that warrants a trip to the theater. This may actually be the guys’ most clever prank yet—getting people to pony up fifteen bucks and ninety minutes of their time for something they can already get free. Guess the joke’s on us.