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IN SHORT: Exactly what you think it is...
To be honest, watching The Jerry Springer Show is Cranky's equivalent of a "guilty pleasure." Yes, my jaw hangs low as I watch the, um, people that parade their dirty laundry across the airwaves. I don't know why they do it. I don't understand the popularity of his show but you know my rule, Cranky makes no comparison to Source material. That means I take Ringmaster's disclaimer: "All characters and events in this motion picture are entirely fictional, and nothing is intended to depict any actual participant in, or special of, 'The Jerry Springer Show,' which is broadcast on television" to be true. But, given the feeding frenzy on talk shows, Cranky's pretty sure that, even if everything I saw onscreen came full blown from the brain of writier Jon Bernstein, somewhere in this great land of ours, something very similar is going on.
In a trailer park outside of Tampa Florida, Connie Zorzak (Molly Hagan) is driving her lunch truck to some construction site. Her daughter Angel (Jaime Pressly) is cleaning motel rooms, and the male patrons therein. Connie's husband Rusty (Michael Dudikoff) is on the couch drinking beer, waiting anxiously for the return of Angel, who is his lover. Re-read this graph carefully friends, this is a true white trash world. When Connie discovers the affair, she storms across the park and unzips Angel's fiancee, the dimmer than a light bulb Willie (Ashley Holbrook). As she slips into the Dark Side of the Force, Connie dials an 800 number and spills her story to a producer of "The Jerry Show," starring you know who doing you know what.
Proving that lust and perfidy are indeed colorblind, the story counterpoint takes place up in Detroit, where Desmond (Michael Jai White) is bedding both Starletta (Wendy Raquel Robinson) and her best friend Vonda (Tangie Ambrose). And another friend, Leshawnette (Nicki Micheaux). The ladies want to shred the man on TV as payback. And so it goes . . .
If Ringmaster is nothing else, it explains the warped thinking that goes on when participants agree to show up on TV. That "15 minutes" of fame may look like a good thing, and it sure is entertaining to those of us who can muster a smug sense of superiority, but it's nothing more than a trip to the big city and a fancy hairdo for trailer trash. They're happy, the producers are happy, we're happy. So be it.
Jerry Springer is smart enough to poke holes in his image. He's done it on TV and he does it to perfection here, mauling our ears by singing a country/western tune, dude-ed up to the nines. The look on Springer's face, most of the time, is that of a laboratory animal who knows that things are going to get much weirder before the food drops down the reward chute. As well, the script socks it to Troy (William McNamara), one of Jerry's producers. You'll see it coming a mile in advance, but it's perfect for the circus that this Ringmaster runs.
Ringmaster, even at full ticket price, will cost you less than Jerry's by-mail-only uncensored video. It'll cost you more than the time wasted by commercials. It won't show you anything new, or surprise you with any stories you haven't seen. But there is frontal nudity, and none of the foul language is bleeped.
Ringmaster is exactly what you think it is going to be. If that's what you want, buy the ticket.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Ringmaster, he would have paid...
Rental level. Cranky's been through 8 movies in the last 3 days, all of which yearn for the Statue. Ringmaster was a welcome relief from doom and overacting. There are no surprises here, so the rating is fair.
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