MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Tooken’ Is Just Another Worthless Parody

Film: Tooken
Starring: Lee Tergesen
Directed by: Josh Asher

Despite a cast of notable names and more than enough source material to work with, Tooken is yet another mindless parody film that will quickly be forgotten.

Tooken markets itself as the ultimate parody of the Taken franchise, but from the very first sequence that idea is thrown out the window in lieu of poking fun at every major Liam Neeson film. That would be fine if there were some original ideas to be found, but unfortunately there is very little to be found in this project. Instead, viewers are subjected to tired gags involving everything from farts to aggressively sexual non sequiturs, as well as generic action movie send-ups that could easily fit in any parody effort. In short, there is nothing here to set this film apart aside from its premise.

And therein lies perhaps the most peculiar thing about Tooken, which is the fact it has a perfectly fine story at its core. Not great by any means, but a story nonetheless with three clear acts and a fluid narrative. If only the filmmakers could have found a way to inject human into the story, instead of overworking a flimsy script with throwaway bit after throwaway bit then maybe there would be something more to praise about the final product.

I typically expect next to nothing from modern parody films, but Tooken hooked me thanks to its impressive cast, including the ever wonderful Lee Tergesen. He’s given the thankless role of bringing this alternate Liam Neeson figure to life, and while he gives it his all it’s never enough to save the disaster occurring in every moment and sequence he finds himself in. Even the support he receives from the likes of Ethan Suplee, Lukas Haas, and Donnie Wahlberg (perhaps only appearing because his wife, Jenny McCarthy, is also in the film) — all of whom have a history of strong performances — cannot save this doomed vessel. It’s as if Tergesen signed on without having a completed script, then for one reason or another could not negotiate his way out before production began. You almost feel bad for him.

The people involved with Tooken may not have been able to walk away from production or simply push the idea that this title even exists out of their minds, but you still can. There is very little to be found in Tooken that you haven’t seen before, and the new stuff isn’t all that great. It’s low brow, bottom of the barrel humor that is closer to infantile than juvenile, and I cannot for the life of me imagine the type of consumer who would consider it quality entertainment, or even entertainment at all. It’s trash.


Written by James Shotwell

James Shotwell
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