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Paramount Studios presents
Punk'd: The Complete First Season (2003)

Ryan Pinkston: Pauly Shore. What happened, man?
Pauly Shore: What happened to what?
Ryan Pinkston: Your career.
Pauly Shore: I'm taking a little break.
Ryan Pinkston: For eight years?

- Ryan Pinkston, Pauly Shore

Review By: Kevin Clemons  
Published: January 19, 2004

Stars: Ashton Kutcher, Dax Shepard
Other Stars: Justin Timberlake, Frankie Muniz, Eliza Dushku, Jessica Alba, Britney Spears, Kelly Osbourne, Seth Green, Jessica Biehl, Nick Lachey, Jessica Simpson, Pink
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for strong language
Run Time: 02h:37m:14s
Release Date: January 20, 2004
UPC: 097368796843
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ A-BB B+

DVD Review

I hate practical jokes, largely because I hate being the victim of them, which has happened on many occasions thanks to my so-called friends. That said, there is something very, very funny about seeing other victims squirm under the knowledge that they have done something wrong. This is something that the creators of the MTV series Punk'd understand, and as an added bonus, they enjoy seeing celebrities squirm, making it all the better. So with the first season of Punk'd now available on DVD in all of its uncensored glory, fans of practical jokes should be in heaven.

The general premise is that host Ashton Kutcher and his friends Dax and Al will take on various celebrities—including Justin Timberlake, Kelly Osbourne, Jessica Alba, and Eliza Dushku—and place them in terrible situations. And then when things look their worst, Kutcher will swoop in and give the celebrities the news: they've been "punked".

Owing a lot to Alan Funt's highly successful Candid Camera series, Punk'd succeeds at doing what a show such as this should: it offers laughs and a charismatic host in Kutcher. It is refreshing to see celebrities at their most frazzled, and for sheer jaw-dropping moments witness young Frankie Muniz from Malcolm in the Middle curse up a storm when his quarter-million-dollar Porsche appears to be stolen.

As I mentioned above, Kutcher is very charismatic as the host of this three ring circus and while his overexposure has caused him to become something of a media joke, it is clear in the early goings of this widely popular series that he was just out to have a good time and that seems to be something that he succeeds at quite admirably.

Highlights from the first season of Punk'd include the previously mentioned Muniz as he freaks out over having his car stolen by a fake valet. One crowning achievement of the season comes when Justin Timberlake returns home to find his property being seized by the IRS for nonpayment of his taxes. When Timberlake finds a team of field agents removing valuables from his home while others board up the doors and windows of his home, the reaction on the pop star's face is priceless. Even better is when the Punk'd team demolishes Timberlake's high-priced guitar and breaks the news that they have also seized his dogs. Other high points feature Jessica Alba feeling uncomfortable around fellow shopper Dax who happens to be naked and overly friendly. Another episode has the ditsy Jessica Simpson pranking her husband, Nick Lachey, by having her (fake) Texas relatives pull up to their mansion in a run down RV. To complicate issues, these supposed relatives ask for money to go back to Texas, and push their young son on Lachey in an effort to get him a singing career.

And for all of the moments involving the pranking of celebrities, the show's other stellar moments involve pranks played upon non-celebrities going about their business. There's pne that entails a visit to a tattoo parlor where the artist and the client have a relationship that makes her boyfriend squirm, another with trio of locksmiths who are framed for helping a thief gain entry to a ritzy store. It may be possible that Punk'd is even better when the celebrity element is removed.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Presented in the original full-frame aspect ratio, the episodes from the first season of Punk'd look fine, but they are certainly nothing to get excited about. Colors are nicely done with a slight amount of grain in the brighter colors, especially in the opening title sequences. Aside from that small problem, the episodes provide nice sharpness and detail throughout, making this a better than average transfer.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The sound for Punk'd is Dolby Surround and the mix is largely anchored to the center speaker. Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout with no dropouts or distortion, while the left and right speakers provide nice accompaniment when music is present.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 6 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in english with remote access
13 Deleted Scenes
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Ashton Kutcher, Dax Shepard, Jason Goldberg
Packaging: 2 disc slip case
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Bonus pranks
Extras Review: Spread over two discs, Punk'd offers a nice variety of extra features, the first of which is an audio commentary by the cast and crew including Kutcher, Dax, and Al. Overall the tracks are fairly basic, but good-humored, as the group discusses the general creation of the show as well as how hard it is to set up a prank on the level that those seen on the series are done.

Each episode features a handful of deleted scenes that can only be accessed by pushing "Enter" on your remote when an icon appears on the screen. Several of these are very funny, most notably the outtakes from the red carpet in which celebrities are accosted by eight-year-old Ryan.

Two bonus skits are offered that are pretty funny, especially Young Executive, in which young Ryan poses as the new ten-year-old executive at MTV. Funny stuff.

Extras Grade: B+


Final Comments

Though the show lasted only two seasons (as of this writing) it is probably for the best. The first season shows the series when it was still fresh and the participants were not as suspecting. This is a very funny set that will please you at least once or twice. Recommended.


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