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PORN STAR:  THE LEGEND OF RON JEREMY
Unrated Version

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars:  Ron Jeremy
Director:  Scott J. Gill
Audio:  Dolby Stereo
Video:  Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio:  Docurama
Features:  See Review
Length:  76 Minutes
Release Date:  March 25, 2003

“Ron just wants to be famous.”

Film **

It’s been said that Ron Jeremy is the biggest.  That is, when it comes to video rental revenue; his catalog of movies on videotape has apparently brought in more cash than that of any other popular star, including Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts or Harrison Ford!

With over 25 years in the industry and over 1,600 movies to his credit (the number is even suggested to be something like 1,800, but I figure hey, after your first 12 or 1,300, who’s really counting), that’s probably a reasonable assessment.  Not only are those numbers staggering, they’re also amusing when you consider the man they’re attributed to:  a fellow who’s been nicknamed “The Hedgehog” because he’s short, round and hairy.

So what made Ron Jeremy such a hit in the industry?  That’s the question that Porn Star:  The Legend of Ron Jeremy pretends to explore, when really, it’s summed up very succinctly early on.  Ron is A) well endowed, and B) able to ‘perform’ on command, and could do so even in the pre-Viagra era.

And that’s it.  But the rest of the film, though clocking in at about an hour and a quarter, tries to make Jeremy more interesting than he is.  Why is he interesting at all?  Read the title of the documentary again, and you’ve summed it up.

The film spends a lot of time with Jeremy, including new interview footage mixed with talk show appearances, him hitting the comedy circuit, his attempts to go mainstream with his career, and of course, tastefully chosen and carefully edited footage from his extensive filmography.  The film is available in both R-rated and unrated versions, and it was the latter I watched.  You get a fair share of “money” shots in it, but those hoping to see some of the “real” stuff will be disappointed here…this is a serious documentary, not a blue movie!

And people who have known and/or worked with Jeremy have their say, from his father and sister to co-stars from the set, to fans and other notables.  They all say Ron’s a really nice guy.  I don’t doubt it.  But nice guys don’t automatically make the best subjects for films.

The most amusing aspect is that Ron, like most porn stars, crave legitimacy as actors or actresses, and few acquire it.  It’s been said that the best thing to happen for the porn fan has been the VCR, but it was one of the worst for the stars, because at least while their pictures were being shot on film and shown in theatres, a guy like Ron could, in a strained way, claim equality with the likes of Burt Reynolds and others.  Once their target audience became people sitting on couches with fast forward buttons, they were essentially reduced from stars to objects.

And Ron, bless his heart, probably earns the tagline moniker of hardest working man in the business.  He travels around doing comedy (but not very well), and jumps at the chance to make the tiniest appearances in “mainstream” films.  He actually flew to Paris to make about a 3 second appearance in Killing Zoe…now that’s dedication!

But Ron still keeps one foot firmly in the industry that made him a legend, where part of his routine is a monthly AIDS test, where the camera follows him as he sits on pins and needles and nervously awaits the results.  He’s a lucky man…he’s dodged the proverbial bullet for more than two decades.

Porn Star as a whole just doesn’t have enough to hold interest.  It’s certainly impressive that so unlikely a man could achieve the status that Ron Jeremy has…but after you’ve acknowledged that, where do you go with it?

Video **

The film was obviously inexpensively made, and compiles both new and old footage…for what it is, it looks about as good as you can hope for, but isn’t anything spectacular.

Audio **

Likewise, the audio is passable, but nothing about the movie will make any real demands on your system.  Nothing worthy of complaint or praise.

Features ***

The disc includes a commentary track by Jeremy and director Scott J. Gill, which is actually a fun and interesting listen, some deleted scenes, Ron’s filmography, cast and crew bios, and some promotional bits for other Docurama titles.

Summary:

In the commentary track, Scott J. Gill mentions showing his film to a lot of his friends and family, only to get reactions like, “who cares?”.  I guess that pretty much sums up my feelings about Porn Star:  The Legend of Ron Jeremy.  He’s a man who carved out a distinctive niche for himself, but it doesn’t automatically make him an riveting subject for a full length documentary.