Meet Monica Velour
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In this irreverent comedy, awkward teenager Tobe (Dustin Ingram) sets off on a road trip to meet Monica Velour (Kim Cattrall), his favorite '80s porn star, at a rare live appearance hundreds of miles away. Instead of the glamorous sexpot portrayed on film, he finds a 49-year-old single mom living in a trailer in rural Indiana, performing at seedy strip clubs to make ends meet. A starry-eyed Tobe, still captivated by his crush, befriends Monica, further complicating her difficult life. Kim Cattrall gives a career-defining performance in this offbeat love story that appeals to the dreamer -- and the nerd -- in all of us.
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It is a shame it did not more attention.
Truth be told, based on previews I was concerned it would be some cheap, stupid, teen comedy with an excuse for sleazy sex jokes.
To the contrary, it was a charming and amusing "coming of age" movie about a geeky guy who loves nostalgia who does a lot of growing up and discovering important things about life when on his first big solo adventure on the road.
A much better film than I was expecting.
Probably Kim Cattrall's best acting performance of her career - and she was brave enough to gain weight and skip make-up in order to try and make the characterization genuine.
Cattrall plays Monica Velour, an over the hill porn star who is short on money and energy. She wants to get custody of her daughter, but with a jerk of an ex-husband hellbent on on putting her down, Velour can see no other options but to go back to stripping and porn. Meanwhile in the state of Washington, Tobe (played by Dustin Ingram), is a 17 year old who likes old music and 70s porn starring Monica. Living with his grandfather, he sees very few options for himself after graduating from High School until he happens to see that Monica will be stripping at a nightclub in Indiana. Not caring that she is some 20-30 years older from the peak of her porn career, Tobe embarks on a road trip to Indiana to finally meet her in person. The movie goes back and forth from heavy-hitting/unpredictable to sweet/predictable; the relationship between these two unlikely people is fascinating to watch, thanks to Cattrall's performance. Ingram plays the part of an extremely awkward teen well, but it is difficult not to think of Napoleon Dynamite; Ingram's character seems to be entirely patterned after him. The ending is fairly satisfying, although it does seem a little rushed and clipped together. I could have used a few more scenes about Monica and her journey before seeing a photo of a postcard that signifies a rushed (and somewhat unlikely) happy ending for her.
Good quality image and sound on this one, but the Blu-ray is very light when it comes to special features. Included are a few deleted scenes (which are actually enjoyable and probably should have been put back in) and an audio commentary by writer/director Keith Bearden and Cattrall.
Enjoyable if uneven movie that had it been better, could have made Cattrall an Oscar contender.
A coming-of-age story, the film, written and directed by Keith Bearden, centers on a dorky, seventeen-year-old recent high school graduate (Dustin Ingram), who lives with his cantankerous grandfather (Brian Dennehy) and worships the movies and pin-u photos of Monica Velour, a gorgeous adult film star of the 1980s.
Ingram, learning that Monica (Cattrall) will be appearing at a strip club in rural Indiana, decides to drive there from his home in Auburn, Washington, and see his "goddess" in person. When the aging former sex queen appears on stage, members of the small audience boo her and, after he tries to defend her, Ingram is beaten and she is fired.
Monica is a broke, single mother, living in a trailer park and fighting with her brutish ex-husband for custody of their young daughter. Ingram falls desperately in love with her; wants to "save" her from her squalid life. Unfortunately, Monica does not want saving, but she does feel a certain empathy for this young, geeky Don Quixote.
Sad, but ultimately charming, MEET MONICA VELOUR is a film with which many viewers will be able to identify.
© Michael B. Druxman
The DVD contains four deleted scenes.
Kim Cattrall ("Sex and the City" and "The Ghost Writer") is the infamous Monica, a talent-less former porn star gone to seed. Her main fan is a gawky 17-year-old boy from Auburn, Washington, who has collected all her videos, posters, press clippings and publicity items from websites, video stores, yard sales and E-Bay. This goofy kid is played to geeky perfection by Dustin Ingram (lots of TV) whose character is out to prove that love IS blind!
Our hero is the proprietor of a mobile hot-dog vending van; it has a giant hot dog mounted on the roof. His father is a boozy retiree, played by Brian Dennehy (working hard on stage and screen since 1977), who gives his son the keys to the van as a high-school graduation present. The boy instantly lists it on E-Bay and finds a buyer in the mid-West, not too far from the last known address of his dream girl.
Off he goes and our story begins....
This 2010 Seattle International Film Festival entry is well written and capably directed by Keith Bearden. Cattrall certainly is not afraid to depict a less-than-admirable character and our hero perfectly illustrates the nuttiness of adolescence. (But everyone's teeth are too white; they look fake.) You can get this new or used from Amazon.com.
The makers created some "Monica Velour" adult features from the pre-video age that will amuse anyone who remembers that era - they obviously had a lot of fun inventing period products. I enjoyed this aspect of the movie, but wish they had given Annie Sprinkle or Kay Parker or someone a cameo -- that would have been great!
Despite dealing with adult themes and sex work, this is not a very salacious movie. There are a few quick glimpses of partial nudity and some explicit language, but 90+% of this movie is PG or purer. There's more smuttiness in any teen-age slob movie, these days. You'd have to be exceptionally prudish to be offended by anything here.
This film is adult in the best sense - it avoids cliche (mostly) and takes a thoughtful, reality-based approach to age and our world. It's nothing heavy or Kosmic, but a it's warm, hopeful, and interesting little movie. You could do worse.