MOVIE REVIEW: Meet Monica Velour
Kim Cattrall stars as an aging porn star
Kim Cattrall did a great job with the British accent in one of my favorite films from last year, Ghost Writer, and she does a nice job with a southern accent in Meet Monica Velour. She does such a great job in this movie, she deserves an Oscar nomination. There’s no way in hell she’ll get it, unfortunately; this is a movie that is getting limited release and will be lucky to even make $500,000 at the box office. And that’s a shame.
It’s the story of an '80s porn star who is a single mother, lives in a trailer, drinks too much, and doesn’t make the smartest decisions. This is a dark, coming-of-age story, and it has enough interesting characters and original situations that you’ll enjoy it.
Written and directed by Keith Bearden, this is his first feature film. It’s a great debut. The cast includes Keith David and Brian Dennehy (you thought Terry Bradshaw had a flabby butt in Failure to Launch…).
The movie might have a few scenes you’ve seen before. I thought of The Wrestler not just because of the opening montage that shows various magazine and movie posters where Monica Velour was shown in her younger, “glamorous” days, but a few other similar scenarios that pop up. However, teen comedies are going to remind you of ones you’ve seen before, action pictures, westerns, whatever genre it may be.
For the first 10 minutes, it appears the actor Dustin Ingram, the teenager, would play the nerdy fan in a way that was too much like Napoleon Dynamite. He ended up winning me over quickly, but he could have been less nerdy. When a character has a certain degree of hipness (and he certainly did), that also makes him a bit more self-aware.
The characters seem realistic and don’t go over-the-top. Dennehy might yell at his grandson, and appear to drink a lot, but he also gives good advice at times and shows he loves the kid. Cattrall does drugs, but not in every scene. In one scene, she subtly asks an ambulance driver, “Is that nitrous?” And sure, she’ll also sit around drinking beer and snorting lines with bikers.
When said bikers want to start a fight, or guys in a strip club get obnoxious, it’s done perfectly. It’s not just people swinging the second a disagreement pops up; there’s some interesting verbal jousting going on that slowly escalates.
This is a nice homage to some of the campy, fun filmmakers (Russ Meyer), as well as pop-culture Americana. It uses some great old songs from the ’30s (hard to argue the kid's logic: “the best movies were in the ‘70s, best music…the ‘30s”). The Who’s "Pictures of Lily" would have fit nicely somewhere in here.
Most raunchy teen comedies aren’t very good. The same day I saw this, I caught a screening of another teen coming-of-age story. It’s going on my list of worst movies of the year.
Meet Monica Velour goes on my list of underrated movies of the year. It’s the film Gwyneth Paltrow probably thought that horrible Country Strong was going to be.
It’s a shame that movie made more in one weekend than this will during its entire release. I recommend you take a trip to see it at the Reading Gaslamp before it disappears.