tle: Meet Monica Velour
Director: Keith Bearden
Starring: Kim Cattrall, Dustin Ingram (’Glee’), Brian Dennehy
Review Written by: Karen Benardello
Sexual comedies with older women in the lead role aren’t the biggest sellers in America today. As seen with the popularity of such hit movies as the ‘American Pie’ series, America is obsessed with sexualized images and plot-lines involving young characters, and fails to appreciate the attractiveness of older actors. But director Keith Bearden’s new romantic comedy, Anchor Bay Films’ ‘Meet Monica Velour,’ surprisingly breaks down all previous thoughts and misconceptions of relationships and love seen in other comedies.
‘Meet Monica Velour’ follows 17-year-old Tobe Hulbert (played by Dustin Ingram) as he graduates from high school and is deciding what he wants to do with the rest of his life. His grandfather, who he calls Pop Pop (portrayed by Brian Dennehy), decides that Tobe needs direction, and pushes him to take over his hot dog truck business. Tobe doesn’t want to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps, so he puts the truck up for sale.
Tobe ultimately decides to sell the truck to a man, Claude (played by Keith David), who lives in Indiana. Tobe is excited to find out that while he’ll be in Indiana, his favorite 1980’s porn star, Monica Velour, will be performing in her only show of the year not far away from where Claude lives. After the show, Tobe befriends Monica, and is shocked to discover that she is really a 49-year-old single mother struggling to make ends meet.
Bearden was surprisingly successful in translating several taboo, rarely discussed messages and topics from the script, which he wrote, to the screen in his feature-length movie directorial debut. These topics include transgenerational love, the painful awkwardness of transitioning into adulthood and sexualizing an older woman in a society that views youthfulness as attractive. Showing that Tobe accepts, and even appreciates, Monica in a romantic way, even though she’s old enough to be his mother, puts a unique spin on the coming-of-age sexual genre.
Cattrall was also a believable and convincing choice for the title role. Having gained mainstream stardom for playing the sexual Samantha Jones in the hit HBO series ‘Sex and the City,’ she could have easily been type-cast as continuously playing characters whose lives are focused on sex. But as Bearden has said about Cattrall, she brought an openness and honesty to the role of Monica that instantly grabs the viewers’ attention. She seemed to really understand Monica’s drive to create a better life for her daughter and herself, but has trouble rising above her past.
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