Meet Monica Velour
by Elaine Hegwood Bowen
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Meet Monica Velour is a teen-aged love story about a 17-year-old nerd named Tobe who has a crush on an old porn star, 49-year-old Monica Velour. Tobe graduates high school and his grandfather, played by Brian Dennehy, gives him the family business—a hot dog truck, with a huge hot dog atop the roof. Tobe has collected memorabilia from Monica’s career forever, and he decides to go see her perform after he finds an ad that she will be making a comeback in Pinhook, Indiana. Lucky for him he also finds a buyer for the truck, played by Keith David, who is a junk man of sorts, and who also collects memorabilia and odds and ends.
This irreverent comedy shows Tobe as the awkward teenager who sets off on a road trip to meet this 80’s era porn star. Dustin Ingram plays Tobe, and while he has other options, a teen-aged girl named Amanda who lives in his same town, he opts to go whirl winding for Monica—whose real name he finds out isn’t even Monica.
She turns out to be a washed up vixen working seedy clubs to pay the bills, while also fighting for custody of her young daughter. Kim Catrall plays Monica, in a “career defining performance in this offbeat love story that appeals to the dreamer—and the nerd—in all of us.”
When Tobe gets to the nightclub where Monica is performing, he can’t stand to hear the jeering from the crowd of hecklers who are berating her, so he picks a fight, and she loses the gig, resenting this stranger for butting in. Nevertheless, the two form a friendship, which Tobe takes too far, because he is madly in love with her. She turns out to be the one to turn him out, and this liaison sets Tobe on a course to save Monica, asking her to move away with her daughter and him. She tries to knock sense into his head—that she is too old for him, and that her life is on the down spiral while his can only go up, but Tobe doesn’t want to hear it. He sells the truck, offering her the $5000, and she can surely use it. However, she has enough respect to turn the money down, knowing that she can’t take up with a minor.
Tobe finally leaves Monica, after one last roll in the hay and planting the money in her apartment. He hitchhikes his way to New Mexico and then back home, where he finds that his grandfather hasn’t missed him much. He has found Tobe’s stash of Monica Velour tapes, and he’s making out with a much younger woman, when Tobe bursts through the front door.
Elaine Hegwood Bowen is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago.
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