Meet Monica Velour
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Meet Monica Velour

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Fantasies are great, we all have them and frequently they can inspire us to reach beyond our own self limiting expectations. The irony inherent in many fantasies contain is they are often so much better than reality that having one come to fruition can be downright disappointing. I fact the realization of a fantasy can be such a letdown that it alters the way you think about it forever. This is the basis story for the comedy ‘Meet Monica Velour’. The film doesn’t quite achieve its full potential but it does manage to touch upon some fascinating themes doing so with a humorous slant. The film is an original concept and definitely not the cookie cutter raunchy flick most teen oriented R rated comedies. It takes on the reality of what happens to ‘glamorous’ adult film stars after the pass their attractive prime juxtaposing that with a fundamentally poignant coming of age story of a teenage boy who finds that reality is not what he expected teaching him the proverbial unexpected lesson in life. considering this film begins on a note nicely removed from the usual sex, drugs and alcohol fueled antics that drive the vast majority of R rated comedies that expectations were set fairly high; beyond the reach of the filmmaker at this early stage in his career. The movie is ambitious but there is a sense that despite the flaws this is a production that represents an honest attempt to make a film that is different and worth watching. Even though it didn’t reach this laudable goal completely it is sufficiently innovative to provide an interest evening’s entertainment. The movie sets off to take on an original take of teen sexual fantasy but employs too many contrivances to properly support the premise. If anything the filmmaker tried to create a mélange containing too many ingredients to handle. The resultant movie comes across like a bright child on Christmas morning; flitting from one present to the next unable to focus on a single toy for any length of time. Some judicious editing and a bit of trimming in the number of standard film genres in use might have helped to streamline this movie. I was impressed with the talent of the filmmaker looking forward to watching his career blossom to where such a textured blending could be properly addressed.

Like many teenage boys Tobe’s (Dustin Ingram), first brush with sex is more visual than visceral; porn movies. His preference runs more to the vintage eighties flicks where ‘big’ hair’ was the fashion in more ways than the obvious. His favorite staring actress is an ingénue performing under the nom de voyage of Monica Velour. His young mind has been filled with adolescent lustful scenarios featuring his favorite actress but he always believed there would never be an opportunity to actually meet this iconic star. The fate intervenes in a way that is only possible or acceptable in a flick such as this the opportunity of a lifetime presents itself. He comes across an advertisement for a rare personal appearance by Miss Monica Velour. The showcase is to be held in a strip club out of town which introduces one of the many ancillary genres present in this film; the road trip movie. A boy of this age has not yet come to the realization that we are all slaves to entropy and are subject to the unrelenting process of aging. His idealized woman was nothing more than an image of someone left behind decades in the past, while the celluloid romps remained trapped in time the real Monica continued on with her life aging; leaving the beauty of her youth in her rear view mirror. He finds the aging porn queen eking out a meager existence peeling in a low end stripper bar. Monica, nee Linda Romanoli (Kim Cattrall), lives in a trailer park in Indiana. Tobe sets off to see the performance in the vintage Hot Dog truck he recently received as an early high school graduation present. This also goes to some of the justification as to why a teenage boy would be so fascinated with decades old stag films; he has an obsession with vintage memorabilia ranging from 50’s cars to 80’s porn. Writer/director Keith Bearden uses the truck nicely as a side plot to help support the character development of Tobe broadening his personality from a one dimensional archetypical Horney teenage boy. Tobe proves that chivalry is not dead when he intercedes on the disdainful taunts tossed at Monica by some Neanderthals receiving a facial pummeling for his trouble. This sparks the unusual friendship between 17 year old Tobe and 49 year old Linda. He traveled to find his porn star fantasy but wound up befriending a troubled middle age woman. Linda has been trying to regain custody of her daughter but is obstructed by her checked past and less than socially acceptable existence. She discovered in Tobe a connection to his generation that is surprisingly comfortable for both of them.

This is the type of independent movie that established actors participate in to re-establish their industry credibility. Cattrall immerses herself completely in the role fully assuming the personae of an over the hill porn star. It is obvious that Ms Cattrall eschewed visits to the hair and makeup trailer in order to portray a woman past her prime and too tired to care any longer. This jaded attitude is well played off the youthful exuberance exhibited by Ingram in his inaugural film role. Bearden may be making his first feature length project here demonstrating a skilful knack for developing the narrative of his story. If only he refrain from the new filmmaker perchance for crowding his stylistic choices with too many ideas. Certainly as he grows in the field he will be able to focus more providing a more streamlined movie. in some ways this is the ‘first pancake’ although it does deserve attention what follows should be a real treat.

Posted 08/05/11

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