The Jerk (1979) A rags to riches to rags story. - The title character is Navin R. Johnson, who was raised in a black family and never noticed he was white. The discovery of his adoption sends him on a quest for self-discovery that puts him in the path of romance and entrepreneurship. Because he is so simple-minded, disasters follow him wherever he goes, but he does not always realize it. Because he is so sweet, Navin is an easy character to root for, even as his misadventures inspire gales of laughter at his abject stupidity, whether it's as an attendant at a carnival game booth or the inventor of a pair of glasses that pinch the nose so they don't slip off.