Let's say you're tired of slack-brained comedies dealing with mature subjects the prepubescent way. Let's say you've watched your fair share of raunchy comedies with heart and are now just looking for the "heart." And let's say you want a film that doesn't sacrifice performances for writing or vice-versa. You may want to listen up here.
Keith Bearden's Meet Monica Velour is a mature film about a mature subject, which is coming-of-age and entering reality after being confined to a fantasy that one has developed over a long period of time. It centers around Tobe (Dustin Ingram),a shy seventeen year old who has an undying fascination with classic movies, music, and pornography. He lives with his cantankerous grandfather (Brian Dennehy) and his best friend is only twelve years old. But the person he loves more than these two combined is Monica Velour, a sexy porn star who made a living doing seventies exploitation flicks. Tobe's deep fascination with the woman only increases because she has faded into complete obscurity, no longer acting and not leaving any traces behind.
When Tobe discovers the one and only Monica Velour will be appearing at a strip club, he makes the long commute to not only meet her, but also sell the only car he has - an bulky van with a gigantic hot dog attached to the roof. When he finally arrives at the strip club, the woman he sees isn't quite who everyone would label attractive. Monica (Kim Cattrall) is now an aging, deeply unhappy woman, juggling child-custody, a deadbeat boyfriend, her uncompromising and somewhat-regrettable legacy, and constant ridiculing for her life choices. Tobe is still undeniably starstruck when he meets the woman, and strikes up a friendship after he is assaulted at the bar by a group of thugs.
The biggest problem with Monica's relationship with Tobe is that Tobe lives in, what appears to be, another reality, one where Monica is still the incredible porn-goddess she once was and where problems can be fixed by ditching life's current situation in favor of what looks to be a long-term solution. Monica views Tobe's decision-making as reckless and lethal to her stability, but can't shake the thought that he is a young, starstruck soul with more of a voice than most of the other kids his age. It's that conflict and the enormous age difference that makes their relationship thrive.
Cattrall is a wise choice for Monica. She is the right amount of sexy for the role, but she is also the right amount of brains and intelligence as well, as she plays Monica with a sense of helplessness but also bravery. Here's a woman that has been broken numerous times, and here she stands, beaten, torn, and clearly roughed-up. But she's not giving up; she's too powerful for that.
Ingram plays Tobe effectively too, humanizing what could've been the most stereotypical, unlikable nerd. Rather than making him insufferably quirky and unrealistically inept like, say, his doppelganger Napoleon Dynamite, Bearden turns the character into a likable man with a real heart and wit to his strange, socially awkward nature. He's not all skin and quirks, and the movie actually gives him a firm leg to stand on.
Meet Monica Velour is, uniformly, a quiet film. The film moves quickly, but not too quickly as to where it is easy to forget. The ethics and choices of the characters demand contemplation (even if some - including the climax - seem to be a bit forced),the commentary it includes on the porn world outside of the STD-craze is noteworthy, and the cinematography and locational beauty of the entire project is, at the very least, nicely displayed throughout the course of the film. Throw in great performances from Cattrall - who may be giving her career-worthy performance here - and a nice introduction into film from Ingram and you have a winning film.
Starring: Dustin Ingram and Kim Cattrall. Directed by: Keith Bearden.
Meet Monica Velour
Comedy / Drama / Romance
Meet Monica Velour
Comedy / Drama / Romance
In this coming-of-age comedy, awkward high school graduate Tobe Hulbert leaves on a road trip to meet Monica Velour, his favorite '80s porn star, at a rare appearance hundreds of miles away. Instead of the glamourous sexpot portrayed on screen, he finds a 49-year-old single mom living in a trailer park in rural Indiana, performing at seedy strip clubs to make ends meet. Starry-eyed and captivated by his crush, Tobe befriends Monica, further complicating her troublesome life; she has to deal with custody over her daughter, a deadbeat boyfriend, her uncompromising and somewhat regrettable legacy, and constant ridiculing for her life choices.—Anchor Bay Entertainment
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