PORN STAR: THE LEGEND OF RON JEREMY
directed by Scott J. Gill runs Dec. 7-Dec. 13 at Varsity
RON JEREMY'S PENIS is 9 3/4 inches long. Ron Jeremy has a master's degree in special education. Ron Jeremy is a cheapskate and a hairy, homely, portly man. Ron Jeremy's one ambition is, and always has been, to be an actor. Ron Jeremy's dad seems like a nice guy, as does Ron himself—pretty funny and pretty average, except for his lengthy dong and his lengthier career as a porn star (over 1,600 titles in a 23- year career, we're told).
Ron is a hero to many; fans applaud him when he enters a room. ("There's Elvis and then there's Ron, basically—it's as simple as that," says one admirer.) But despite hugging and kissing a legion of Barbie-doll-beautiful women, despite getting all the pussy in the world, Ron is sad. He admits he is lonely, and he has the hangdog look of someone who knows deep down that all the pussy in the world won't get him a wife and kids or a place in legitimate film. (Recent cameos include Reindeer Games and Detroit Rock City.)
Yet Ron's success is his failure; the one porn flick he meant to do while looking for traditional acting jobs in the '70s has turned into a livelihood including, recently, Booty Duty 5, Nymphomercials, and Sluts, Butts, and Housewives. Still, Ron protests that some of his pornographic oeuvre is of feature-film quality—a claim undermined by clips from such titles. His assertion that porn acting is the most real and difficult of all is almost laughable—except you feel too bad to laugh. (Ron might be a good actor, you find yourself thinking. Someone should give Ron a chance.)
Ron Jeremy is an interesting man, interesting in his conflation of the average and the aberrant, in his devotion to his family and his technique of thinking about dead dogs to keep from coming while hard at work. And his world is fascinating, with its overinflated bimbos and directors who wear sunglasses indoors. ("I don't have time to wait for wood; the guys I hire have to get up in three minutes," says a guy identified as an "adult film historian/director.")
Porn Star communicates all this despite itself; in a coup of metaphor, the film itself is as overlong and amateurish as Ron himself. Shot on video, Porn Star's clips go largely unattributed to a specific year or film; with its poor pacing, continuity gaps, and strange, sudden montages, it's like, well, a porn movie. Even as he longs for mainstream acceptance, Ron's documentary finally can't escape his own story.