Natural Born Pranksters is a feature-length film which follows YouTube’s top three mischief-makers as they pull a series of stunts.
Starring Vitaly Zdorovetskiy, best known as VitalyzdTV, Dennis Roady and Roman Atwood – who together have more than 20 million YouTube subscribers – the trio are followed by a film crew as they do what they do best. That is, stage elaborate pranks and conduct social experiments on unsuspecting targets.
Premiering on April Fools’ Day, the ultimate day of pranks, the movie springboards off of successful funny flicks such as Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat and the Jackass movie series starring notorious jokers Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O. The stunts often necessitating elaborate disguises, back stories and actors, with each segment intercut with short highlights from videos on the pranksters’ respective channels.
Directed by Roman and Ben Pluimer, and filmed in a mere 30 days, the trio certainly takes fearlessness to a new level; with many of the pranks truly inciting panic in the victim and inevitably the audience.
For instance, the pranksters really frighten sunbathers on a Miami Beach when they drop a plastic but very realistic looking snake in the sand.
“We try to make people s**t their pants, that’s really the goal here,” one of the guys says in a voiceover, more or less summing up the premise of the movie in a single line.
But the trio gets a taste of their own medicine when they set up a buff car enthusiast known as Hollywood. Though Hollywood thinks he’s being interviewed on camera for a show about classic cars, he soon catches the trio trying to siphon petrol from his beloved vehicle, and goes mad – taking his belt off and near-swinging it at the three pranksters.
Hollywood’s relief is utterly palpable when his friend tells him that he’s been set up, with him dropping his belt and embracing the sneaky jokers.
Other clips are more lighthearted and show the camaraderie between the trio, with eating contests, surprising jolts with electric fly zappers, shooting each other with confetti cannons as well as an attempt to convince critics a painting made of faecal matter is real art.
The movie is obviously trying to tap into the loyal and engaged fan base of YouTube stars, with it also featuring cameos from YouTubers like Jenna Marbles, Furious Pete and Logan Paul. But the non-stop gags get a bit tedious after a while, and maybe that’s why the mischievous stars have enjoyed so much success in the one-off short video market on the video sharing platform.
Granted there are several laugh-out-loud moments at the expense of the prank victims, but perhaps this movie is best left for teenage boys who will undoubtedly love the toilet humour and silly gags.
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