The Jamie Kennedy Experiment: The Complete Third Season

It's almost painful to think of what a great series The Jamie Kennedy Experiment could have been. Remove the annoyingly persistent laugh track, rewrite the pandering and un-funny introductions, and chop the season down to a few less episodes and there is no reason why the show might not have been regarded as highly as a series like Da Ali G Show, a more intelligent, spiritual cousin to Kennedy's frat-boy antics. A more character-driven version of Candid Camera, the show centres around Jamie Kennedy (the guy from Scream who knows all about horror movies) and his elaborate hidden camera pranks. Certainly bits like "Porta Poop," in which Kennedy plays a beach vendor who carts around a portable toilet, and "Cheese Steak with Chio," in which he cheats at a cheese steak eating competition and subsequently starts a fight, appeal to the lowest common denominator. But there are also moments of brilliance like "Historical Reenactment," where several historians and teachers are asked to review a play geared towards middle school children about the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The play is awash in "hip slang" and concludes with a rap about the King of England not letting Americans keep their "bling bling," accompanied by strippers. In "Dolphin Intelligence," the prank's target believes that, courtesy of a device that allows dolphins to speak to humans, a dolphin has amassed enough missiles to destroy Cuba. At the same time, Kennedy's introductions are almost painful to watch, as he awkwardly attempts to appeal to African-Americans, whom the show's producers have clearly deemed their target demographic, by adding "izzle" to the end of words and occasionally yelling "What!" Extras include second takes of many of the pranks, showing a whole different reaction to some of the most creative gags on the disc, but that's it. The show's final season is a mixed bag, but when it's funny, it's unstoppable. (Paramount)