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movie review out of 4 Movie Review: Ringmaster

Starring: Jerry Springer, Jaime Pressly
Director: Neil Abramson
Rated: R
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: November 1998
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Michael Dudikoff, Michael Jai White, Molly Hagan

Review by MrBrown
0 stars out of 4

The overexposure of talk show host/referee Jerry Springer continues--and hopefully ends--with this insipid bottom-brow comedy which, according to a closing disclaimer, is _not_ "intended to depict any actual participant in, or aspect of, _The_Jerry_Springer_Show_, which is broadcast on television." Funny, because the centerpiece of this film is a salacious, fight- and profanity-filled talk show called _Jerry_, hosted by a guy referred to in the film simply as, yes, "Jerry" (played by Springer, natch). Mercifully, although he is given above-the-title billing, Springer is made a mere supporting player by writer Jon Bernstein and director Neil Abramson; anyone who's seen the "Final Thought" segment of Springer's show knows how well he _doesn't_ hold the screen. Not so mercifully, though, Abramson allots some of Springer's limited screen time for a painful country-western musical number and--yikes--a fleeting but no less ghastly Springer sex scene.

Instead, Abramson and Bernstein cast their focus (using that term very loosely) on two separate groups of people who are tapped to appear on _Jerry_ for different topics, only to end up intertwining. Receiving the most screen time are a mother-daughter pair of trailer park trollops. The daughter (Jaime Pressly), who indiscriminately has (to use the President's euphemism) "inappropriate relationships" with random guests at the hotel she works at, is sleeping with her stepfather (Michael Dudikoff of _American_Ninja_, er, fame). In retaliation, the mother (Molly Hagan) starts having her daughter's fiance (Ashley Holbrook). Slightly more amusing is the other group, a trio of ghetto stereotype girls (Wendy Raquel Robinson, Tangie Ambrose, and Nicki Micheaux) who have all, at one point or another, fallen into the bed of musclebound studmuffin Demond (charismatic _Spawn_ and _Tyson_ star Michael Jai White, who can certainly find better work than this).

What ensues is tons of "too hot for TV" tawdriness that, ironically, enough, is not compulsively watchable as Springer's two _Too_Hot_for_TV!_ videos--nor nowhere nearly as funny. Part of the reason is that we are acutely aware that all the outrageousness is staged; regardless of whether or not any of Springer's TV guests' tussles are rehearsed, those fights do feature nonprofessionals inflicting real harm on each other--which is part of the show's sadistic guilty pleasure factor. But the main reason is the amateurish sloppiness of the entire movie, from the acting to the countless glitches in logic and continuity. (For example, Springer's character's last name, according to the credits, is "Farrelly," but in one autograph-signing scene, he signs his last name as "Springer.") Stay home and watch the genuine article instead.

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