By Don Simpson | October 7, 2010
Director: Tony Vidal
Writer(s): Tony Vidal (screeplay)
Starring: Matt Angel, Ken Davitian, Veronica Sixtos, Madison Riley, Georges Corraface, Jareb Dauplaise, Devon Werkheiser, Robert Adamson, Kurt Fuller
The Pranksters are a clandestine group of high school misfits who have dedicated their teenage years to combating the social inequities and hateful cliques inherent in high school. Their random acts of subterfuge are designed to make people more open towards the differences of others; they just want everyone to chill out and loosen the heck up.
Chris (Matt Angel) is the de facto leader of the Pranksters. The son of a Greek immigrant contractor (Ken Davitian), Chris is an “A” student who aspires to go away to college after graduation. Unfortunately Chris’ blue-collar father does not recognize the merits of college (or the difference between college and junior college) and therefore Chris’ only chance of attending college in the Fall is with a full scholarship. Chris has the necessary grades for a scholarship, but the Pranksters’ ideology has prohibited him from participating in any extracurricular activities. College is not Chris’ only senior year concern, he also has a massive crush on a Hispanic cheerleader, Mariah (Veronica Sixtos). Luckily for Chris, he has Uncle Nick (Georges Corraface) who plays the role of the Stoic sage who guides him through these very confusing and challenging times.
The Prankster comes complete with an ultra-preppie student body president (Brad [Devon Werkheiser]), a catty blond head cheerleader (Tiffany [Madison Riley]), an obese jock-cum-bully (Blotto [Jareb Dauplaise]), a star quarterback (Eric [Robert Adamson]), and an imbecilic Dean (Kurt Fuller). On the surface the characters might seem like the same old blatant stereotypes from most high school comedies, but most of the characters reveal that there is much more to them that meets the eye.
Directed by Tony Vidal, The Prankster succeeds in shattering myths and stereotypes but it really lacks in terms of plot and character development. Other than Chris, The Prankster does not allow its characters enough time to establish any connection with the audience. Vidal ensures that we see each character long enough to recognize his or her stereotypical trait, then he reveals a single character trait that promptly demolishes it. With a few less characters on his plate, Vidal could have made this trick more interesting with additional time spent on character development. As it stands, we are left not caring when we discover that there is more to Blotto or Eric than meets the eye.
That said — it is really nice to watch a high school comedy with such a well-represented multiracial cast; classism is also quite adequately portrayed. Most of all, I like how Vidal represents the Pranksters’ ideology as flawed — it is extremely prohibitive and subjective.