Film Review: Meet Monica Velour

Coming-of-age awfulness.

Eighteen-year-old Tobe (Dustin Ingram) is a misfit, fond of 1930s music, 1950s cars, 1970s films and especially the 1980s porno oeuvre of Monica Velour (Kim Cattrall). When he discovers she is now living and working in Indiana, he leaves his impossibly eccentric, alcoholic, eternally underwear-clad Grandpa (Brian Dennehy) to go on a road trip in search of his goddess. He finds her, burnt-out and blowsy, toiling in a ratty strip club, tries to defend her from the snarky disrespect of a gang of jocks and winds up bloodied and definitely bowed for his efforts. His heroism strikes a responsive chord in Monica, however. She takes him under her wing and the two begin a shakily affectionate relationship.

If Meet Monica Velour is an example of the scripts Kim Cattrall consents to do, one shudders at the thought of what her rejects must be like. Noted for holding out for years on doing the Sex and the City films, it looks like she has come down from whatever high horse she was riding to play a character which is like her famous TV series sexpot Samantha Jones' worst future nightmare of herself. There's a weary, dispirited skepticism to her performance here that, while appropriate to her raddled role, also reads like a depressing reaction to the paltry material with which she must make do. Writer-director Keith Bearden hasn't an original idea in his noggin—even the "satiric" titles of Monica's dirty movies feel secondhand—and the whole thing plays out with a clunky haplessness which makes it a fit candidate for one of 2011's worst.

It all might have been semi-redeemed if the actor playing Tobe had been any kind of an audience-winner. Unfortunately, Ingram plays him as a grimacing, gum-baring, clichéd loser who is simply repulsive; whatever sympathy you might muster for him evaporates with his first close-up. Jee Young Han appears as a chubby, age-appropriate love interest for him, replete with a jabbering, stereotypical Korean dad, whom Tobe first sees with a bunch of friends as they spy on her, masturbating in her bedroom, a typical Bearden idea of expositional fun.

Adding to the overall gloom is Dennehy, who, obviously left to his own devices, rasps out his tiresome codger lines, swills a lot of beer and, in the year's most shuddersome movie moment, bares his posterior, which looks like a bunch of corduroy drapes.