Hey, four words: Jerry Springer
-- The Movie.
Poetry in motion, right? You take your average Springer guests and show them in their natural, pretaping habitat. And while you're at it, you also reveal what makes Jerry tick. It's money, baby.
Apparently, it's what the five producers and seven exec producers behind the low-budgeted "Ringmaster" are thinking. The problem is, their fictionalized account of the events leading up to an appearance on Springer's show, a k a "Lifestyles of the Poor and Trashy," plays like one of Jerry's "Too Hot for TV" videos, with the added bonus of bad writing and direction.
But will the guarantee of a bleep-free 90 minutes, complete with a generous flashing of breasts (including Jerry's), plus cheesy, simulated sex acts be enough to lure viewers out of the comfort of their trailer park? Artisan Entertainment, in a bid to break out of its usual art house mode, clearly hopes so, but "Ringmaster"'s true destiny lies on the video racks. Or maybe Jerry will thoughtfully throw in a copy as an incentive to buy his upcoming tell-all book.
Little do Angel, Connie, Rusty and Willie know, their sordid little lives are about to become the "You Did WHAT With Your Stepdaddy?" episode on the next "Jerry Springer".
It seems Angel (Jaime Pressly
), a motel chambermaid who goes the extra distance for male guests, is about to tie the knot with the slow-witted Willie (Ashley Holbrook) while also carrying on with Rusty (Michael Dudikoff
), who just happens to be married to Angel's mom, Connie (Molly Hagan
). When she catches the two in action, Connie decides to teach her daughter a lesson by servicing her fiance.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the park, the take-no-prisoners Starletta Wendy Raquel Robinson
) catches her man Michael Jai White
) getting freaky with her best friend (Tangie Ambrose
). With said boyfriend having previously played the dog with her other best friend (Nicki Micheaux
), the grouping is a natural for a "My Traitor Girlfriends" episode.
More than willing to air their dirty laundry for a trip to Hollywood (apparently Chicago isn't sexy enough), both parties head for the "Springer" show -- but not before doing a little interfacing, if you know what we mean.
Playing out like watered-down John Waters, the Neil Abramson-directed, Jon Bernstein-written enterprise awkwardly goes for a poor approximation of cheap, sleazy satire one minute and (inexplicably) quiet, tender introspection the next, with nothing capturing the sheer, guilty-pleasure adrenaline rush of an installment of Springer's real TV show.
The acting styles are similarly all over the place, with Hagan's I-just-wanna-be-loved competitive mom bravely striving for something more noble. She's a trailer trash Ma Joad. At least Robinson ("The Steve Harvey Show") seems to be a enjoying herself as the wrong woman to mess with.
As for Jerry's big acting debut, in which he gets to share a post-coital embrace with Rebecca Broussard
and delivers an encore performance of his country song ("Dr. Talk"), here's a Final Thought: Don't quit your day job.
A Motion Pictures
Corporation of America production
Director: Neil Abramson
Screenwriter: Jon Bernstein
Producers: Jerry Springer
, Gina Rugolo-Judd, Brad Jenkel, Steve Stabler, Gary W. Goldstein
Executive producers: Brent Baum
, Don Corsini
, Richard Dominick
, Erwin More, Brian Medavoy
, Donald Kushner
, Peter Locke
Director of photography: Russell Lyster
Production designers: Dorian Vernacchio
, Deborah Raymond
Editor: Suzanne Hines
Costume designer: Gail McMullen
Music supervisor: Marcus Barone
Music: Kennard Ramsey
Casting: Carmen Tetzlaff
Jerry: Jerry Springer
Angel: Jaime Pressly
Troy: William McNamara
Connie: Molly Hagan
Starletta: Wendy Raquel Robinson
Demond: Michael Jai White
Willie: Ashley Holbrook
Rusty: Michael Dudikoff
Vonda: Tangie Ambrose
Leshawnette: Nicki Micheaux
Willie: Ashley Holbrook
Running time -- 90 minutes
MPAA rating: R