8/10 Writer/director Sean Baker is an extremely polarizing director. I absolutely hated his last movie, which critics loved and I had as my 9th worst movie of 2017, “The Florida Project”. So it was with great hesitance that I returned to theaters for his next feature film starring Simon Rex, who I will always know as the lead protagonist in “Scary Movie 3” and “Scary Movie 4” and then disappearing for almost 20 years. In fairness, he has been working over the last 20 years but in nothing major; mostly TV work, short films and animated voiceovers. This role was tailor made for him as he plays a pretty selfish, terrible person but we can’t help but root for the loveable man child. The cast is fantastic and I hope this opens the door for Rex to get more leading roles. Baker has a knack for highlighting the forgotten men and women in his films, the people society doesn’t care about or give much attention to. The rural, white trash and ghetto areas of America. The film takes place in 2015/2016 when Trump and Hillary were running for President and we get to see Trump speeches on TV as well as a MAGA billboard. Trump, like Baker, appeals to similar groups of people, those forgotten men and women working blue collar jobs, not the coastal elites. Baker is the opposite of pretentious film makers like a Noah Baumbach and even when I can’t stand his work (“The Florida Project”), I recognize the characters he is lifting up, which Hollywood often neglects. “Red Rocket” is highly entertaining from start to finish, filled with memorable characters and situations and has some laugh out loud humor which I was not expecting. If there is one flaw it is that our jerk of a protagonist doesn’t really get punished for all of the misdeeds he commits in the film, although his wife does get some revenge on him by the end of the film which I was happy to see. The strength of Rex’s performance allows us to root for him to succeed, despite his lies, cheating, drug dealing, verbal abuse and sleazy lifestyle. Rex is so likeable that he makes us overlook all of that and then some to keep rooting for him. Despite coming in at just over two hours in length, the film is well paced and always entertaining with something comical going on. Rex’s character Mikey is an extremely simple man who wants to get his porn career back on track, make some money and have his cake and eat it too. He thinks with his dick, which we comically get to see a couple times in the film. The supporting cast of women were fantastic and Baker is great at casting people who feel real and authentic, often hiring non-actors for roles in his films. “Red Rocket”, like the title implies, is a vulgar, sexual film but if you don’t mind the subject matter, this is one of the most pleasant surprises of 2021 and has me hoping that Baker continues with this upward career trend as he is off like a rocket…of any color.

#StrawberryMovie / #OddRexButOK / #RedRocketMan / #SaberOfLove / #GlazedAndConfused / #AceInTheDonutHole

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