They say you can learn everything about an artist by looking at his work—and you could certainly find more insight into the mind of shutterbug Bert Stern by glimpsing his iconic pics than by watching this sloppy, narcissistic mess of a documentary. Legendary as both a photographer and a pussy-hound, Stern helped revolutionize ’60s advertising (hence the title’s ring-a-ding-ding coattail-riding) and shot beaucoup beautiful women ranging from Vogue models to Marilyn Monroe. The film does offer some revealing anecdotes about his infamous Monroe sessions, but mostly, it simply slouches from one sensationalistic, salacious bit to the next, sans any historical context. Worse, filmmaker Shannah Laumeister continually rhapsodizes on-camera about her own “soul mate” relationship with the subject—leaving viewers feeling mad as hell.
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