Meet Monica Velour

Meet Monica Velour

***

Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

Tobe is a 17-year-old self-identified dork with a fascination for the cultural detritus of past decades and an especial interest in late 1970s-early 1980s porn star Monica Velour (Kim Catrall), the star of such titles as Saturday Night Beaver (the title of a real-world porn film), New Wave Nookie and Pork And Mindy (both made up, though the former parodies another real-world porno rather than a mainstream production).

Though Tobe is a dork, even he considers his female counterpart Amanda as being too dorky – until, that is, he notices the Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Switchblade Sisters posters on her walls.

However, by this time, they’ve graduated and Tobe has been given a somewhat unwelcome gift by by grandfather Pops Pops (Brian Dennehy), namely the family weenie van.

Not wanting it, Tobe puts it up for sale. Almost immediately he has a buyer, in the form of kitsch collector Claude (Keith David). There’s one snag, however: Claude lives in Indiana and would need Tobe to drive the van to him from his Oregon home.

At first Tobe declines, but then he discovers via a Monica Velour fan site that she’s due to be performing in a nearby Indiana strip club.

Checking the map, Tobe discovers that Claude’s place and the strip club are not far apart and thus he decides to go sell the van and meet the woman of his dreams.

Predictably things don’t go smoothly, before turning out all right in the end. The good guys are rewarded and the bad guys punished – the usual stuff.

Part road-movie, part coming-of-age story, part drama, part comedy, this might well be summed up as one part Napoleon Dynamite, one part Ghost World and one part the Boogie Nights subplots dealing with Amber Waves’ custody battles with her husband and the characters’ struggles to live down the stigma of their porn pasts. (Those wanting a more obscure reference point may also wish to refer to the 2002 documentary Desperately Seeking Seka, in which Swedish filmmaker Christian Hallmann set out to track down his adolescent lust object, 15 or so years after her retirement).

The problem is that in terms of writing and direction it thus fails to do anything that hasn’t been done before or better.

The exceptions are the chance to see a distinctly de-glamourised Kim Catrall demonstrate her acting abilities as Velour and the sight of Brian Dennehy’s naked arse – the kind of once seen never to be unseen image that shouldn’t have been included, not out of any sense of propriety or gross-out value, but because with it he completely upstages the nominal star.

Reviewed on: 21 Jun 2011
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A young dork seizes the chance of a lifetime to meet the former porn star he idolises.
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