Sunday, April 10, 2011

Movie with Abe: Meet Monica Velour

Meet Monica Velour
Directed by Keith Bearden
Released April 8, 2011

Tales of nerdy loners whose lives are entirely transformed by some transcontinental voyage are not uncommon. When said nerdy loner sets out across the country to go meet the porn star he’s been obsessed with for years, things get a bit less conventional. All in all, however, it’s still the same old song, with a slight twist throw in to excite the plot considerably. “Meet Monica Velour” may have a novel promise and a singular allure, but it’s a familiar and forgettable, if harmless, coming of age story that follows one teenager on his quest to overcome loneliness and find purpose in his life.

“Meet Monica Velour” opens strongly with a clear pictorial articulation of the affection Tobe (Dustin Ingram) feels for his favorite porn star (Kim Cattrall). Tobe lusts after another person as well, his classmate Amanda (Jee Young Han), but she comes second to the legendary and seductive Monica Velour. With no one but a child neighbor and a distant grandfather to talk to and facing the terror of life after high school graduation, Tobe makes the simple typical independent road movie choice to abandon it all and drive hundreds of miles towards nowhere for the chance to see the true woman of his dreams.

If there’s one thing that “Meet Monica Velour” absolutely gets right, it’s the expression of sentiment from Tobe towards Monica. His infatuation is utterly complete and has taken total control of him, yet he is a perfect gentleman when the young virgin finds her in a compromising position. He rises to the defense of her honor at a performance where her age is mocked, to his own physical detriment. His love is also appropriately childish, presuming an easy big picture when the circumstances are anything but.

What “Meet Monica Velour” doesn’t pull off quite as well is the actual characterization of Monica, née Linda Romanoli, who, as one might expect for a former porn star approaching fifty, is constantly in search of her former glory while realizing that she should really start getting her life together and find a new career path, with no skills to boot. Cattrall, a talented and funny actress, does her best in this part, but it isn’t too specifically written for her too be terribly memorable. The story takes predictable turns and doesn’t offer any fun or engaging surprises. It’s an enjoyable enough experience, but it can’t be anywhere near as memorable as meeting Monica Velour was for our hero Tobe.


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