In tabloid America, the most meaningful events the ones that tap what Norman Mailer called ''the dream life of the nation'' start out as the most random. If guilty, O.J. Simpson will simply be one more jealous bastard who gave into psychotic blood lust. Yet his story hangs over us with larger-than-life gloom, evoking our collective spiritual state our grim voyeurism, our loss of faith as surely as any event since the Kennedy assassination. When Lorena Bobbitt hacked off her husband's penis with a kitchen knife, she was one woman doling out deranged vengeance to an abusive mate. Yet the Bobbitt story emerged as a kind of national myth waiting to happen, a tabloid feminist parable for the era of the dwindling white male. In the dream life of the nation, it was the bloody culmination of a 30-year war: for women, the ultimate payback; for men, the ultimate nightmare.
The queasy allure of JOHN WAYNE BOBBITT UNCUT (Leisure Time Communications, unrated, $49.95) is that it becomes the final chapter of the story. Portraying himself in this mind-bendingly shameless hardcore docudrama, John Wayne Bobbitt girlfriend beater, ex-Marine, martyr, surgical miracle, and now porn star lies in a hospital bed, reenacting his recovery from the event that made him the most famous tabloid freak in America. As he languishes, dazed and confused, he's informed that it will be two years before he can use his newly reattached member. But this is a triple-X porn feature where else would the ''nurses'' wear hats with red crosses on them? and so it's more like two minutes.
Here, of course, is the moment we've been waiting for, the one in which we finally get a glimpse of you-know-what. How does it look? Well, there's a faint pink scar, but no real stitch marks, no overt sign that it was once separated from itself. Slowly, Bobbitt and one of the nurses begin to grind away, and, yes, ladies and gentlemen, there it is, it's doing what comes naturally. As a mad scientist once observed ... it's alive!
John Wayne Bobbitt Uncut had its de facto trailer this past New Year's Eve, when John Wayne appeared on Howard Stern's pay-per-view special, with Howard casting himself as a leering, midnight-blue Monty Hall, offering his famous guest more and more bucks to drop his pants on national television. Bobbitt refused a smart move, it turns out. He's been paid more than a million dollars to star in Uncut, and the video itself has a chance of becoming the most widely seen crossover porn extravaganza since the heady days (sorry, I couldn't resist) of Deep Throat. Undeniably, it's a freak show. Yet in its sleazebucket way what this film is selling is the spectacle of resurrection, of the white male triumphant. He who boffs last ...
Even by conventional porn standards, it's a pretty bad movie. Directed by the veteran adult-film star Ron Jeremy, whose tubby gut and bullfrog visage have inspired men all over America to think, ''If this idiot gets laid, why not me?,'' John Wayne Bobbitt Uncut opens with a reenactment of the John-Lorena imbroglio that makes your average dramatization on A Current Affair look like Ingmar Bergman. From there, it's basically Bobbitt going at it with one siliconed stripper after another. (There are eight in all.) With his dazed speech, sculpted Marine bod, and Ken-doll handsomeness the young Republican as happy zombie Bobbitt has the passive virility of a porn stud. Yet since his penis, which looks as if it may have lost an inch or two, seems in perpetual danger of slipping out of whatever it happens to be in, he's limited to oral sex and a couple of basic Masters-and-Johnson positions. There are no outrageously kinky fantasies here, no flying-legs gymnastics. After a while, the sameness of the sex scenes becomes a reductio ad absurdum of porn's usual orgiastic monotony.
And yet, through the presence of its star, the movie attains a gross fascination. For their fans, the thrill of hardcore porn films is that they're essentially documentaries. Next to their pile-ups of real live flesh, the ''hot'' sex scenes in big-budget Hollywood movies seem as glossy as Flashdance. John Wayne Bobbitt Uncut takes this dirty immediacy to another dimension, since what it offers isn't just the usual parade of men and women turning themselves into meat but the spectacle of a debased celebrity upping the ante on his debasement (and, in the process, his celebrity), exploiting himself to the nth degree by selling everything he has. All 4 1/2 inches of it. The eerie thing about John Wayne Bobbitt Uncut is that Bobbitt truly looks as if he belongs there, as if he's having a great time. You get the feeling that, given the chance, he'd even do it all over again. No pain, no gain. C