"The Jerky Boys" is the most appropriately titled movie since . . . well, since "Dumb & Dumber." Except that, if possible, this one is even more annoying, has a higher ratio of vulgarity and is less funny.
The title characters are Johnny Brennan and Kamal, a New York comedy team whose speciality is prank phone calls. You can find examples of their foul-mouthed, mean-spirited calls and the bevy of stupid characters they've created over the years on a pair of best-selling albums.
The film has Brennan and Kamal playing themselves, and except for the central plot, which involves their unwisely getting involved with local mobsters, "The Jerky Boys" is essentially a series of skits about their prank calls. Unlike their albums, however, this scripted film lacks any spontaneity.
It all begins with the boys in jail, being interrogated by a tough cop (Brad Sullivan) and telling their story in flashback.
Slackers who can't hold a job, Brennan and Kamal promise Brennan's mother they will go out and look for jobs, but they have no intention of leaving the house. Instead, they sit around all day phoning neighbors and local businesses, making up off-the-wall stories that they hope will cause others to look foolish.
One day, one of their calls leads to a mob connection. Brennan poses as "Frank Rizzo," a Chicago mobster whose name he has made up, and calls some local hoods who work for a godfather, played by Alan Arkin. Alan Arkin!?!?
The hoods are all Italian stereotypes, of course, and just to make sure we know Arkin is a godfather, every time he appears on the screen we hear music reminiscent of Nino Rota's theme from "The Godfather" movies. A "clever" twist has their illegal operations fronted by a diaper service.
Using intimidation over the phone, "Frank Rizzo" bullies Arkin into giving two of his "boys" first-class treatment, which in this case means front-row seats at a Tom Jones concert.
After the flashback concludes, Brennan and Kamal are bailed out and trick Arkin into giving them a taped confession and they escape in a diaper service truck.
This leads to Arkin kidnapping Brennan's mother and putting her feet in cement, and more chases in the diaper service truck.
All of this is nearly as tedious as Brennan's phone calls, which include such inspired name-calling as "liver lips," "sizzle chest," "rubberneck" and "tough guy," along with endless variations on words referring to the human posterior.
The press kit for "The Jerky Boys" refers to these terms as "Jerkyisms" and credits Brennan and Kamal for adding these words and others to "the lexicon of today's youth."
I realize I'm getting older, but I'm pretty sure my teenagers have never used these phrases.
And they certainly won't be seeing this movie.
"The Jerky Boys" is rated R for constant vulgarity and profanity, along with some comic violence.