Some ideas sound great on paper but fall flat in the execution - it's up to your own personal taste as to whether Being Ron Jeremy falls into the former or the latter camp. The brainchild of star/co-writer/producer/director Brian Berke, this 38-minute lark of a short film is a cheeky, raunchy riff on the 1999 mind-fuck classic Being John Malkovich (which this film, humorously enough, strenously reminds the viewer is merely a parody - you can almost picture Berke on his knees: "Please, please don't sue us. We were kidding!").
A ramshackle, low-budget blend of comedy and soft-core porn, Berke's short cribs bits of Charlie Kaufman's screenplay - namely the portal into a famous person's head and the stifled, tortured relationship shared by the two leads. It's an OK idea, sure, but considering this flick was released in 2003, it seems a bit stale and after-the-fact. At any rate, Berke is charming enough to keep the short film from failing utterly. Still, at almost 40 minutes, there are spots where it drags slightly.
Berke stars as Brian Pickles, a dead-end comedian who does stand-up on the boardwalk and apparently spends whatever income he generates at a local porn shop, where the unrequited love of his life, Mia (Mia Crowe) works. Struggling to make it in stand-up, a frustrated Brian unwittingly stumbles upon a portal into the head of famed porn actor Ron Jeremy (the skin flick thesp himself) - the only problem is that when Ron farts, Brian lands in a dumpster somewhere in downtown Los Angeles. Throw Andy Dick into the mix and if you've seen Being John Malkovich, you know where this is going.
As I said previously, it's nothing more than it pretends to be - but Being Ron Jeremy still runs out of gas well before the end credits roll. Berke gets marks for effort, but perhaps he could apply his raunchy, ribald sense of humor to an original project next time.
Being Ron Jeremy is offered in a non-anamorphic 1.78:1 widescreen image - washed out and extremely digital in appearance, the picture here won't be used as reference material anytime soon, but it does its job. The limitations of the film's budget are unfortunately made more evident, rather than hidden.
Much like the visual side of things, Being Ron Jeremy doesn't knock you out aurally. Dolby 2.0 stereo is it and it's a fairly crowded mix - some voices run a little hot and distort slightly, some dialogue is barely audible and some portions have a little bit of noise on the soundtrack. Again, nothing to crow about but for the most part, it gets the job done.
For a who's-ever-heard-of-it short film, Being Ron Jeremy is tricked out with a hefty amount of supplemental material. Included are several behind-the-scenes featurettes - "Ron Jeremy Live!," "Inside The Porn Actors Studio" (by turns hilarious and disgusting) and "Backstage With the Porn Stars" - as well as a few deleted scenes and outtakes. The film's lengthy trailer, presented in non-anamorphic widescreen, is also included.
Being Ron Jeremy is stupid, derivative fun but the joke premise tends to wear pretty thin after about 10 minutes. Fans of adult film and The Hedgehog in particular may delight in this quasi-homage, but everyone else will probably need a few stiff drinks to truly embrace Berke's short. A rental if you must.