by Christie Robb
Mikey Saber (Simon Rex) is like an ill-trained golden retriever—all smiles and charm until he starts humping your leg and pissing all over the furniture.
In Sean Baker’s Red Rocket, Mikey makes a hangdog reappearance in his hometown of Texas City, Texas. He left 20 years before with hopes of making it big out in Los Angeles—as a porn star. That didn’t exactly turn out well for him and now he finds himself broke and on the doorstep of his ex Lexi (Bree Elrod), begging to be let back inside.
He’s a fast talker who makes a good elevator pitch, and despite a history that you can just tell is littered with drama and bad vibes, Lexi lets Mikey move in—provided he contributes to the rent and does some chores around the house.
From here, Mikey tries to pick up the pieces of his life and start over. Unfortunately, the stigma against sex workers limits his employment prospects. So he hooks up with an old boss and starts peddling weed to make ends meet.
Baker (Tangerine, The Florida Project) has made a comedy this time out, albeit a black one. Once Mikey catches a glimpse of the pert 17-year-old server Strawberry (Suzanna Son) at the local Doughnut Hole, he embarks on a mission to pimp her out to the porn industry.
She’s smart, sex-positive, and down to be filmed, but Mikey is full of lies, promoting unrealistic expectations that give the comedy a touch of a tragic undertone.
All of this is set against 2016 DNC and RNC convention speeches that make reoccurring cameos on the TVs in the background, underscoring the hogwash that Mikey is spouting.
Quotable and frequently laugh-out-loud funny, Red Rocket finally answered a question I had floating around the back of my mind for years—exactly how much bouncing would be involved when a well-endowed naked man runs full-out on a city street.