"Tooken" is a Missed Opportunity for a "Taken" Spoof Review

Young Hollywood royalty Josh Asher directs Tooken, a generic gross-out, pun-filled, raunchy romp of a spoof of the surprisingly successful, slam-bang action-driven, albeit formulaic Taken movies. Asher’s dad was the creator of the highly beloved 8-season ‘60s comedy series Betwitched, but to assume that the father’s wholesome humor and hijinks have passed down to the son would be an error.

Tooken is a far cry from the slapstick zaniness of David Zucker and even a basement-level below the progressively more asinine Scary Movie sequels. Where Scary Movie was actually a fine send-up of ‘90s horror courtesy of the inspired Wayans Brothers and understandably launched a franchise, don’t hold your breath for Tooken 2. This one is more than enough to take it out of you.

Oz’s Lee Tergesen headlines the film and proves through his confidence on screen, ably doing his part to buoy a less than adequate parody, that he’s been a hard-nosed working actor for years without ever making that big splash. Beyond his long arc on the merciless, gritty prison drama Oz, in case anyone out there thinks there’s a wizard involved, there’s not, he has popped up in recurring roles on shows like The Americans, Longmire, and recently Defiance and might be remembered for his parts in Wayne’s World or Point Break. With an accent that handedly captures Liam Neeson’s gravely intensity, Tergesen deadpans through absurd lines and a clunky script to achieve something close to satisfying.

Tooken pulls in the likes of Jenna McCarthy and hubby Donnie Wahlberg, as well as Lukas Haas, Margaret Cho, and even Akon, but nothing really gets its steam rising. The script is bottom barrel, when it could have so much more potential. Neeson practically gave satirists their opportunity on a golden platter with his barrage of recent, trite actioners, but Josh Asher squanders his moment.

Blu-ray Bonus Features

Extras include a behind-the-scenes featurette, a Cribs spoof, and deleted scenes.

"Tooken" is on sale July 7, 2015 and is rated R. Comedy. Directed by Josh Asher. Written by Cameron Van Hoy, John Asher. Starring Donnie Wahlberg, Jenny McCarthy, Lee Tergesen, Margaret Cho.

Kyle North • Staff Writer


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