Review: ‘The Jerky Boys’

The Jerky Boys, a comedy inspired by the antics of prank phone-callers Johnny Brennan and Kamal Ahmed, is a lowbrow, high-concept item. Kamal (as he is known professionally) and Brennan more or less play themselves. They are repeatedly described by themselves and others as 'a couple of lowlifes from Queens' and do their best to live down to that reputation.

The Jerky Boys, a comedy inspired by the antics of prank phone-callers Johnny Brennan and Kamal Ahmed, is a lowbrow, high-concept item. Kamal (as he is known professionally) and Brennan more or less play themselves. They are repeatedly described by themselves and others as ‘a couple of lowlifes from Queens’ and do their best to live down to that reputation.

When a former high school classmate (James Lorinz) gets a little too cocky about his low-level job with the local Mafia branch, the Jerky Boys decide to have a little fun. Johnny calls the mob headquarters, passes himself off as a notorious Chicago hood and gets the goodfellas to believe two fugitive hit men will need their hospitality.

Naturally Johnny and Kamal introduce themselves as the hit men. Just as naturally, the mob boss (Alan Arkin) quickly sees through the ruse. Trouble is, a hardboiled cop (Brad Sullivan) isn’t nearly so perceptive. He’s bent on getting the Jerky Boys to lead him to this criminal mastermind.

Drawing heavily from the cast of characters they introduced on their two top-selling comedy albums, Johnny and Kamal pretend to be, among other things, a nightclub magician, a hot-headed gangster, a pair of roadies and, while hiding from Mafia hoods, a couple of bathroom-stall Romeos.

James Melkonian’s direction often seems flat-footed, the tech credits are unremarkable, and the pic on the whole, though just 81 minutes long, seems padded.

The Jerky Boys

Production

Caravan/Touchstone. Director James Melkonian; Producer Joe Roth, Roger Birnbaum; Screenplay James Melkonian, Rich Wilkes, John G. Brennan, Kamal Ahmed; Camera Veli Steiger; Editor Dennis M. Hill; Music Ira Newborn; Art Director Dan Leigh

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1995. Running time: 81 MIN.

With

Johnny Brennan Kamal Ahmed Alan Arkin William Hickey Alan North Brad Sullivan
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading