Late yesterday afternoon I saw the second half of Keith Bearden‘s Meet Monica Velour (Anchor Bay, 4.8), and I have to admit that Scott Feinberg’s admiring review (filed during last spring’s Tribeca Film Festival) was more correct than not. I obviously need to see the whole thing, but the part that I saw persuaded absolutely that Velour is a mildly decent, in some ways very affecting little film. I’m giving it a B-plus for effort.
Velour actually has a clear theme — a kid growing up by way of dispensing with illusion. And it offers a genuinely strong and ballsy performance from Kim Cattrall as an aging ex-erotic actress on the skids and heading further down — alcoholic, lumpy-bodied, living in a trailer park. And a relatively steady and affecting one from Dustin Ingram (Glee), who’s 20 or 21 now but plays 17 in the film. (Velour was shot in ’07, it appears.)
The story is relatively well-shaped and believable as far as it goes, and you can tell right away that Bearden knows how to direct and cut as opposed to just adequately shoot a script. There’s a slight problem in his dialogue having a kind of “written” quality, and some of the scenes feeling a little too “acted,” but both are of a somewhat higher (or at least above-average) order so there’s not much interference
This is not, however, a turnabout from Wednesday morning’s negative-attitude post which, don’t forget, was about Velour‘s marketing materials and not the film itself. Almost everything I said in that article is still valid. Anchor Bay’s poster does physically misrepresent Cattrall to the point of the image not even resembling her. The trailer, which focuses mainly on Ingram gaping at Cattrall as she performs a half-hearted striptease inside an Indiana strip club, is slack and one-note. Director-writer Bearden does look somewhat like Bilbo Baggins, and the general rule of thumb is that geeky-looking directors are better with “off” subject matter, or subjects, I mean to say, that don’t involve sex and hormones and formerly hot MILFs.
Bearden persuading Cattrall to gain weight and look extra over-the-hill wasn’t, it turns out, such a bad idea. There’s always an impulse to applaud an attractive actress when she appears in a physically unflattering way, and I’m doing that here, but Cattrall goes the extra distance, I feel, in portraying what it is to not just feel despair but to actually be that, so to speak. She shows chops in this film that I’ve honestly never seen before. I’m almost ready to forgive her for Sex and the City 2.
Either way Movieline‘s Luis Virtel was on the wrong jag when he posted a story about the possibility of Meet Monica Velour possibly being a “hilariously bad” Cattrall film. Nope. Not al all.