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Thursday, October 4, 2018

WHO'S JENNA...? -- DVD Review by Porfle

Writer-director Thomas Baldinger shows off his flair for sharp, smart comedy in WHO'S JENNA...? (Indican Pictures, 2018), the story of an up-and-coming money management executive named Jonathan (Bill Sorvino) who discovers that his advancement up the ladder depends on whether or not he can sacrifice his scruples for a crude, cretinous boss who wants him to do his dirty work for him.

It's also sort of a rom-com, which gave me pause until I discovered that the rom takes a back seat to the com and doesn't really bog things down even when Jonathan cute-meets the gorgeous Jenna (Tracey Birdsall, DAWN OF THE CRESCENT MOON) and falls in love right before finding out that she's his vile boss's sister-in-law.

Jenna also is a dead ringer for porn star Jenna You-Know-Who, according to Jonathan's coworker, housemate, and lifelong friend Andy (Joseph D'Onofrio, A BRONX TALE, ANALYZE THAT, Young Tommy in GOODFELLAS), a porn addict who's thrilled beyond measure to find that one of Jonathan's new clients is studly porn god Kevin Steele (Michael Tota).

He's also convinced that Jenna really is a porn actress and is forever digging through his massive collection of XXX tapes in search of proof. It gets to a point where we're not so sure she isn't the real thing ourselves.

The conflict kicks in when one of the first orders that boss Barcia (Garry Pastore, GOODFELLAS, DO THE RIGHT THING, DONNIE BRASCO) gives Jonathan is to dump Kevin as a client because of his profession, and also to fire Jonathan's friend because in addition to being a great worker who deserves a promotion, he's both black and gay.

Jonathan must do these things or risk being fired himself, hence his moral quandary which will keep the plot moving while generating much witty dialogue and amusing situations.

"Witty" and "amusing" are apt words to describe a comedy that isn't going for farce, slapstick, or gross-out laughs, but actually wants to sort of engage our intellect while eliciting pleasant chuckles.  (And you can quote me on that.)  WHO'S JENNA...? is so neatly done, in fact, you could almost eat off of it.  As a fresh, appealing comedy with unobtrusive romantic touches, it practically has a new car smell.

The leads are all just right (look for "The Sopranos" co-star Vincent Pastore and actual porn star Amber Lynn) with Tracey Birdsall looking almost enough like that Jenna to keep us wondering and Garry Pastore hitting a home run as Barcia, one of the most delightfully repugnant fictional slobs I've seen in years.

A major highlight is the scene where Jonathan must join Barcia and his horrible business friends for dinner, listening to their blustery, slimily offensive blather without fleeing in disgust.  A day of golfing with this motley crew is no less insufferable.

Jonathan hatches a plot to turn against boss Barcia and still get his promotion while doing right by his friends and clients without compromising his ideals.  But just as we settle in for some intriguingly complex plot twists and a rising level of comic intensity and suspense, the movie suddenly ends.

It seems the story was simpler than predicted, and quite happy to pop like a party favor instead of building up to any actual fireworks.  (But stay tuned during the closing credits for an extra scene and some outtakes.)

I wanted it to keep going past that point and give us more.  That considered, however, I'm happy with what I got.  WHO'S JENNA...? is the kind of comedy that does its thing and then darts off the stage, leaving us wanting more.  And what we do get in that short time is sparkling fun. 

Tech Specs
Runtime: 95 min
Format: 1:78 HD
Sound: Dolby Sr.
Country: USA
Language: English
Captions: English
Genre: Action, Comedy


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