Who’s Jenna…? Review
Who’s Jenna…? is a comedy about a financial advisor who starts dating an aspiring lawyer, who is best friend is convinced she looks exactly like a famous adult film star.
The romantic comedy with characters over 40 (or 50 even) are a rare breed, the genre heavily populated with twenty and thirty-somethings all in a tizzy over what to do with their lives. That’s why it’s always good to see a movie take a chance with showing that love is not restricted to the very young. Thomas Baldinger‘s Who’s Jenna…? is one such film, a movie that maybe follows a number of standbys in the formula, yet delivers a light and entertaining bit of oldschool fun.
Jonathan Burke (Bill Sorvino) is a successful financial advisor who’s moving up in the company, good friends with colleague Andy Roma (Joseph D’Onofrio), a fast-talker with a penchant for expressing his love of porn. At a bar one night, the two are chatting when in walks Jenna (Tracey Birdsall), a stunning, shapely blonde lawyer who saddles right up and begins a conversation. It’s not long after when the two start a relationship, though Andy is convinced he’s seen the girl before, believing she is in fact the star of one of his favorite porn films, “I Dream of Jenna.” Meanwhile, Jonathan’s boss Joe (Garry Pastore), who is also Jenna’s brother-in-law, is dangling a huge promotion if he’ll get rid of one of their top clients, Kevin Steele (Michael Tota), a popular porn star, suggesting that he is connected to the mob. Not only that, he demands that Jonathan fire his assistant because he’s black and gay. Should Jonathan get Jenna involved and potentially destroy everything they’ve built together?
Based on that description, you might think Who’s Jenna…? is a scandalous, R-rated sex romp but nothing could be further from the truth. While it talks a lot about sex and the porn industry (actress Amber Lynn is even featured), it’s surprisingly clean, with even the romantic sex completely sidestepped. It embraces the colorful language but is devoid of even a hint of the action, choosing to be lighthearted rather than provocative. Is it possible to have a family-friendly, socially-conscious movie about porn? Who’s Jenna…? certainly tries. What’s interesting and to the credit of the film, it never judges about porn, even while it takes a few well-earned and proper criticisms of the industry. Andy could have easily been the creepy porn-addicted throwaway character, as he spends most of the movie in search of the film that would prove he’s right about Jenna, but he’s not painted into a corner and comes out mostly likable. The film’s plot revolves around Jonathan defending Kevin, a man introduced as a gluttonous pornstar who is eventually humanized, at least as much as the movie will allow. No matter the salaciousness of the context, the movie gleefully takes to the cute instead, more interested in having a standard good guy topples the monster story, and with Joe a genuinely distasteful racist, homophobe, it’s easy to root for such. I do question an awkward moment though, where he reveals a secret life beyond the office, feeling it entirely unnecessary, and wish Baldinger had thought better of including it.
Throughout her career, Birdsall has continually positioned herself as the classic Hollywood bombshell, a stereotype that has long worked its way into pornography, and so it makes sense (in the movie) for the proposed mix-up. The film is about these middle-aged people trying to make things work while wrapped up in the stink of Jonathan’s boss, and for that, both Sorvino and Birdsall sell it well. You want to root for them and it’s refreshing to see it play out with some flirtatious fun. This is an Indie romcom, and fans of the genre (and of Birdsall) will have plenty to feel good about.
Who’s Jenna…? is scheduled for release in early 2018.
Who’s Jenna…? Review
Movie description: Who's Jenna...? is a comedy about a financial advisor who starts dating an aspiring lawyer, who is best friend is convinced she looks exactly like a famous adult film star.
Director(s): Thomas Baldinger
Actor(s): Tracey Birdsall, Bill Sorvino, Joseph D'Onofrio