We’ve had retired assassins (Red), retired adventurers (Up) and retired pugilists (The Wrestler), why not a retired porn star? Meet Monica Velour offers one such wonder in the form of a chain-smoking, alcoholic Kim Cattrall, who scrapes off the Sex And The City gloss for a brave and brazen turn as the titular has-been.
She’s the insatiable crush-object of porn-mad teen Tobe (Dustin Ingram), who’s collected all of Velour’s racy ’80s memorabilia, and leaps at the chance to meet her at a seedy strip show. Driving there in his hot dog van (don’t ask), Tobe finds Velour now a miserable creature with fading looks, desperate for a second chance. Deciding to help her, Tobe discovers that Velour’s being stalked by her bully ex-husband, with whom she’s locked in a custody battle over their young daughter.
Attempting to fuse quirky Indie peculiarities (the sweary grandpa, the hapless, geeky teenager) with a grown-up drama about wilting beauty and human struggle, director Keith Bearden’s feature debut is a bit of a mixed bag. To its credit, that blend works better than it should. There are subtle notes being tinkled throughout (including an interesting though empty suggestion that Tobe’s obsession with the older Velour stems from the fact that he misses his dead mother), while Cattrall’s jaded victim is clearly deserving of her own movie.
It’s almost a shame that Velour’s gritty B-plot relies so heavily on Tobe’s rom-com A-plot. Tobe’s cheesy quest for confidence might speak to a few Peter Pan syndrome sufferers, but it’s Velour’s sad, down-trodden existence that has the most universal appeal, echoing the plight of Marisa Tomei’s down on her luck stripper in The Wrestler. This is far from perfect, then, but as a brilliantly bold departure for Cattrall alone, it’s worth giving a chance. 3/5
Via Out In The City