THE JAMIE KENNEDY EXPERIMENT
Review by Gordon Justesen
Stars: Jamie Kennedy
Audio: Dolby Surround
Video: Full Screen 1.33:1
Features: See Review
Length: 367 Minutes
Release Date: December 2, 2003
There are many of people who have views on reality
television, most of which are negative. It seems as if countless spawns of hit
shows like Survivor and The
Bachelor are turning up by the week. As for myself, I try to stray as far
from these kinds of shows because they simply don't do much justice on behalf of
benefiting the viewer other than turning them into something of a voyeur.
However, I have managed to single out two specific shows,
each of which has a similar running theme, because they present an element of
reality TV that is nothing short of uproarious. They represent a distinct art
form of comedy which finds its way into reality, much like how Candid
Camera did. The shows I'm referring to are the hidden camera prank shows Punk'd and The Jamie Kennedy
Experiment, the ladder of which was the first one to come along, both on
network television and now to DVD.
To most of the viewing public, Jamie Kennedy is perhaps
best known as a supporting actor best known for his edgy performances in films
like Three Kings and the Scream movies. It may surprise you that even before he got into
acting, Kennedy was an aspiring stand-up comic. He actually came to California
to tour the night club scene before eventually going into acting.
Kennedy's stand-up act consisted of many different
characters, and with the opportunity of getting his very own TV show, he was
able to channel these characters into some hugely funny comedy sketches. The
only thing is, these sketches happen to involve hidden cameras, as Kennedy and
his crew execute elaborate pranks on unsuspecting onlookers who, as the show
puts it, are about to be X'd.
And how far does Kennedy go to execute his plan? In some
cases, he will go under hours of character make up which do an uncanny job of
transforming Kennedy into any type of character. He even gets away with
convincingly playing a black female talk show host named Virginia Hamm, which is
a performance that you simply have to see for yourself.
Among the other skits, the one I got the most kicks out of
was Kennedy as the host of a secretly fake courtroom show titled "Judge
Jamie". This skit, which is done quite a few a times, presents Jamie as an
elderly and very senile judge in an uproarious spoof of "The People's
Court". The highlight skit shows the judge igniting a bickering war with
his defendant and plaintiff in a case over the selling of a television.
Another highlight is the introduction of Brad Gluckman, the
white rapper wannabe from Malibu. Kennedy eventually took this character to the
big screen in the much hilarious Malibu's
Most Wanted. Among the skits in the first season, Brad, or B-RAD as he likes
to be called, is fooling numerous people into thinking he wishes to move in with
them, or date and possibly marry the daughter of an uptight mother or father. He
can even be seen, at one point, tearing up the golf course, making it hell for
the fellow players.
From my perspective, there's absolutely no question that The
Jamie Kennedy Experiment is one of the best offerings yet to come from the
current reality TV frenzy. Kennedy goes to outrageous lengths to execute his
elaborate pranks, each of which generate at least a few sinister laughs, while
others generate laugh out loud instances. The result is non stop parade of
ingeniously staged incidents, perfectly illustrating a unique art form of comedy
Season One of The
Jamie Kennedy Experiment is a hugely funny introduction to what I hope is a
long lasting series.
Being a basic television show, there is no choice but to present this in a standard format. However, Paramount manages to make the most of it. The set pieces of the show switch between Jamie, who hosts the show along with a studio audience, and the hidden camera playbacks of the pranks as they are going down. Both areas are handled mostly well, even if the hidden camera bits sometimes result in a bit of softness. As far as television shows go; I haven't seen many on DVD, but this is a worthy exception.
The 2.0 track is actually a noteworthy soundtrack, even for that of a television series. Right from the opening credits to each episode, the sound quality picks up quite nicely. I even noticed a certain level of range in a few of the hidden camera pranks, as in one case where you can hear feedback from a guy speaking to another guy via an ear piece. And dialogue is of absolute clearness. Overall, a very well-handled presentation.
Paramount does this
first season of JKX much justice with
a nicely loaded 3-disc package. Included is commentary by Jamie Kennedy over
selected episodes, which can be found at various points on each disc. In
addition, Disc 3 includes the featurette, "A Conversation With the Creators
of The Jamie Kennedy Experiment", 2nd Marks for JKX, which include second
looks at the bits "Hit it or Quit it", "Jaw Surgery",
"Driving Instructor" and "Mr. Valenti". Lastly, there is a
JKX promo spot, perfectly dubbed, "The Next Victim".