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THE JAMIE KENNEDY EXPERIMENT
Season One

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Jamie Kennedy
Directors: Various
Audio: Dolby Surround
Video: Full Screen 1.33:1
Studio: Paramount
Features: See Review
Length: 367 Minutes
Release Date: December 2, 2003

Youve been Xd!

Shows ***

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 unto itself.

Season One of The Jamie Kennedy Experiment is a hugely funny introduction to what I hope is a long lasting series.

Video ***

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.

Audio ***

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.

Features ***1/2

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".

Summary:

The Jamie Kennedy Experiment is raw comedy at its televised best. Jamie Kennedy shows his true gift for outrageous comedy, resulting in some truly hysterical moments. A must have for those in need of some insane-induced laughs.