DVD Review - Meet Monica Velour

Kim Cattrall (Sex and the City) stars as Linda Romandi a.k.a. Monica Velour, a former porn star who is now an aging stripper working in Indiana. This is a rather cliché role that isn't really about her. It's about the teenage boy named Tobe, played by Dustin Ingram, who seeks her out on a whim and falls in love her.

Writer and director Keith Bearden makes Tobe a 17-year-old to whom I and I'm sure many others can relate but goes against the grain in a lot of ways. He has a crappy job and a father, played by Brian Dennehy, who is annoying and a little nasty. Tobe's father walks around with no pants and occasionally no underwear. Yet, Tobe has some level of independence. He has a great heart and he has a great sense of culture.

Tobe thinks the golden age of American song writing is the 1930s. He thinks the coolest cars came out the 1950s and he thinks the best movies were from the 1970s. When it comes to movies, he doesn't mean those from the major Hollywood directors of that time like Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Robert Altman and Steven Spielberg. Tobe also means the porn films that were released that decade.

In fact, the first porn flick we see him watching is a Star Wars parody. Bearden shows us brief snippets that are hilarious, but Bearden doesn't just pay homage to 70s films in that way. The entire vibe and look of this film feels very 70s-ish. Yet, Bearden doesn't lose total sight of modern humor and sensibilities. A funny Internet search reminds of that. Buying fireworks from a guy with a hook for a hand is another.

Along with an earnestness, Bearden infuses a grittiness and Cattrall embraces it, moving very far away from her glamorous, fabulous and ultra-horny persona on Sex and the City. This is in fact the opposite of her character of Samantha on that HBO series. That being said, her character of Monica Velour is quite predictable.

She's an aging stripper who's down on her luck. She's in a custody battle for her daughter. She lives in a trailer park. She's a performer in an industry that's on the one hand sleezy and on the other hand dying. This is an archetype we've seen before. Most recently, we saw this with Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler (2008).

These stories about women are rare though and this movie does make some interesting comments about the porn industry and how it's changed. Those comments actually are applicable to Hollywood in general, as well as other things. Ultimately, Tobe's relationship with Monica and his outlook via this porn star is what's crucial. The two have a great rapport and chemistry in spite of themselves.

There is a fantasy that people believe and for which they yearn. Our culture is bombarded with so many images and ideas, especially when it comes to sex and love. The judgments made by people who buy into those images and ideas are not always the best because those people seek the fantasy over the reality. This is what Tobe does, and it's through this that he has to learn not to do it.

Five Stars out of Five.
Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 39 mins.


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