17 July 2014 | MartinHafer
Sometimes very fun and lovable...and sometimes a bit narcissistic.
My oldest daughter and I just finished watching this documentary. And while we'll admit that some of it was very charming and fun, some portions of the film made us feel a bit uncomfortable. It seems that the guy featured in this movie is very creative and fun...but he also seemed a bit narcissistic and oblivious to the harm he might have caused.
Charlie Todd is the originator of something he calls 'Improv Everywhere'. It's the notion that the world around him is a wonderful place to play pranks--pranks which are much like performance art. The point is to make folks laugh--and many of their stunts are very funny. Occasionally, however, we noticed times when their pranks didn't always seem thought out and folks could have gotten hurt--and I hate to think that this film might encourage more of this thoughtless behavior. Take, for instance, the walking onto the subway pant-less stunt. It's kind of funny (at least until the bit got over-used). But in the first instance they showed, it consisted of a man in winter standing next to a woman--- and he's in his boxer shorts. Considering that the train car is rather empty, our first thoughts were 'that lady must feel REALLY threatened to have a guy standing this close to her--perhaps she's worried he'll hurt her'. Her body language seemed to say this. I am sure this also will run through many viewers' heads--so why didn't this occur to Todd and his friends?
Despite a few misgivings, I am not trashing the documentary. Much of it is enjoyable and the pranks are generally wonderful. Just understand, that there is a disturbing sense of entitlement about a few of them and the documentary completely glosses over this.
Oh, and speaking of entitlement...one part of the show really irritated me. Todd decided to quit his day job to follow this dream. So be it-- good for him. But then they show him proudly showing off his Unemployment check after he quit! Todd...this money is for people who legitimately need help to feed their families and make ends meet. Just my two cents worth about that. Other times, folks seemed hurt by his actions and he seemed to portray himself as a victim. As I said...at times the film sure seemed a tad narcissistic.
Now, about the quality of the film. It was interesting, was well made and kept me watching. I would like to have seem some interviews from the police, local government or stores in which their pranks occurred. But, it did convey who these people were very well.