Published May 12, 2011After viewing the poster for Meet Monica Velour, one might feel inclined to think Keith Bearden's exceptional feature directorial debut is merely just a coming-of-age story about Napoleon Dynamite meeting a slightly raunchier Samantha Jones. However, looks are deceiving in this solid character piece and Bearden is intent on exposing viewers to the ugliness of how society imposes its severe moral judgments on the less fortunate while disguising his intentions with raunchy humour early on in the film.
Meet Monica Velour begins with nerdy 17-year-old pop culture buff Tobe (Dustin Ingram) after his high school graduation. Desperate to escape his crude, alcoholic grandfather (Brian Dennehy) and suburban hell, he embarks upon a road trip to Indiana to sell his hot dog truck, which just happens to be where his favourite '80s porn star, Monica Velour (Kim Cattrall), is making a rare appearance at a nearby strip club.
However, Monica Velour is no longer the svelte, sexy adult star she once was. Instead, she's turned into a 49-year-old alcoholic struggling to make ends meet by working in sleazy strip clubs and living in a trailer park. Monica's harsh appearance and harsher vernacular don't stop Tobe from trying to bond with the jaded former porn star and the events that later ensue are both humorous and heartrending.
Writer/director Keith Bearden will most likely be accused of being cruelly deceiving and extremely inappropriate by many, but those who don't shelter themselves behind ignorant idealisms will be able to appreciate the intense realism and brutal honesty in the story he's trying to tell and hopefully, the subject matter will hit home to some viewers who can definitely relate to how callous living in this world can be.
Meet Monica Velour is full of great performances from newcomer Dustin Ingram and Keith David, but it's Kim Cattrall's portrayal of Monica Velour that's the most outstanding of the bunch. When her character utters the words, "Sometimes, you can make a mistake that can ruin your life," viewers will understand the wisdom in this worn-out and bitter character's words.
Meet Monica Velour may be full of ugliness and penis jokes, but it depicts the beauty of a connection between two equally lost souls effortlessly. (Anchor Bay)