Anchor Bay // 2010 // 99 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // August 22nd, 2011
Fantasy Meets Reality
If you ever wondered what would happen if Napoleon Dynamite got it on with the Julianne Moore character in Boogie Nights then Meet Monica Velour is your fantasy come true. It is abut an awkward nerd (Dustin Ingram, Sky High) who graduates from high school, and then tracks down his favorite '70s porn star (Kim Cattrall, Sex and the City) who is stripping in a seedy Indiana backwoods bar. She turns out to be more than he expected as she is a struggling single mom fighting to get her daughter back. The real woman is nothing like the innocent fantasy, but she takes a liking to the seventeen-year-old kid who idolizes her. The rest of the film settles comfortably into a character study of the two leads, and it hits the expected beats found in most independent comedy dramas about misfits finding each other. Lessons are learned, and then it comes time to move on. Along the way we get a surprisingly sweet and well-acted tale.
Meet Monica Velour is a film Kim Cattrall rallied to get made, as she had been developing it with the writer Keith Bearden since 2004. He's a first time feature director, but the project comes off well despite his inexperience. It looks handsome and the emotions feel genuine at the narrative core. Everything works in his favor. The only issue is it's a pretty predictable plot and the dialogue rings tinny. Cattrall's character spits out bon mots about a woman being only what is in her bra and panties, and it feels trite and not true to form.
The movie belongs to its leading lady since she eschewed much of her glamorous trappings to created the character. Here the star is twenty pounds heavier than normal, stripped of her make-up, trying desperately to show that she can act, and not just be Samantha Jones from her Sex and the City days. She needn't worry, because the actors come off just fine. Cattrall and Ingram rise above most of the plot stereotypes, and they manage to create a pair charming enough to carry the film. There is no nudity from Kim Cattrall which is surprising given that she seemed uninhibited about that on the HBO series. Meet Monica Velour is a surprisingly chaste R-rated comedy with mainly the language and subject material getting it the adult audience.
On Blu-ray we are treated to a nice transfer, although the independent roots make me wonder why we need the high definition. I can imagine Kim Cattrall begging people to get this on DVD so that they can't see every wrinkle, but thankfully the HD transfer is a touch dark and she is afforded some modesty. Colors pop nicely, but detail lacks a little in the murk. A five channel surround track doesn't have to do too much, and it delivers the dialogue just fine. Extras include some deleted scenes and a rather jovial commentary track featuring the director and his leading lady. They give you the back story about how much passion they both had to get this film made, and tell some amusing stories about making it for very little money on location in Michigan.
Meet Monica Velour hardly got a theatrical release outside of the festival circuit, but I imagine it will find a bigger audience in home video circles. Sex and the City fans will get to see Kim Cattrall doing something far different than her glossy sophisticated character, but breathe easy knowing the woman is still sexy in her fifties. Indie film fans will enjoy the nerdy kid meets porn star comedy, which all works just fine. It is an unremarkable plot, but it has some genuinely affecting performances to carry it along. That makes this one enough to check out if you're curious and want to meet an aging porn star past her prime.
Not guilty of showing too much skin but rather plenty of heart.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
Running Time: 99 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Deleted Scenes