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Saturday, June 2, 2012

My 100 Worst Movies of the 90's - 05 - The Jerky Boys (1995)

The Jerky Boys
(1995; Touchstone Pictures)
Another in the long list of completely unnecessary films, The Jerky Boys stars the titular comics who grew famous for taping prank calls and selling them as tapes and CDs.  The film involves them, well prank calling everyone, including the mob.  The calls aren’t funny, this film isn’t funny.  Period.

The plot: Two slackers, John and Kamal, inadvertently get caught up in a scheme with the mob when they make a prank call (their leisure of choice).  The police begin to think they are more than just a couple of regular guys until their identities are revealed to which the police respond by having them continue to prank the mob for their investigation.  There is another plot involving saving their bar, but it is just another glossed-over element in this convoluted mess of a movie starring two people who were famous for about 13 minutes (they didn't deserve the full fifteen) and it essentially is the last-known footage of these guys because after this film came out, these dudes disappeared from the mainstream.  

What makes this movie so bad (bad enough to justify the number 5 spot) is that there is barely any acting in this movie.  It is a feature length version of a stand up routine and, like I mentioned with Chairman of the Board, this doesn’t work.  Granted, the Jerky Boys were not stand-up comics, but their routine was, in a sense, a similar concept.  The idea of a prank call, however, just doesn’t work for a movie.  Films are about interplay between characters and the great films have dynamic dialogue that works when great stars execute it with flair.  The great writers/directors of dialogue like Billy Wilder and Alfred Hitchcock made their actors’ words flow, and there was a rhythm.  In the Jerky Boys the characters seem to shout over each other.  It is truly annoying.  Still, I think the main reason why this one fails on just about every level is, while their prank calls on tape were real, with real unwitting victims on the other end, the actors in this film are reading scripted dialogue, and the knowledge of this fact reduces the value of what was already pretty weak to begin with to nil.  

When this article reached its first draft I honestly could not think of much to say about this movie. It is so devoid of ANYTHING of any substance that it has mostly just been forgotten. Those who still remember their act may vaguely remember this film but most of the people I asked claimed they've never even HEARD of these guys so, at least where I live, they must not have left that much of an impact. That is the sign of a bad movie too. Most people my age remember how bad Batman and Robin was, because it was explosively, insanely bad. The same can be said for any epically bad movie. The Jerky Boys is worse than most because not only is it dreadful and lacking of any talent or imagination, it is also 100% forgettable. There isn't even really anything to make fun of here. The Jerky Boys is an empty used dumpster left and forgotten behind a long-closed Denny's. Nobody remembers it's there, and nobody cares.

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