Jonny’s review published on Letterboxd:
Another thoroughly entertaining down south character film from Sean Baker. However, the real MVP here is without a doubt Simon Rex.
Mikey is not a likeable character in any regard and making a movie that revolves around a character like that can be extremely hard. Some films will try and garner any shred of sympathy to invest its audience in the plight of the lead. Red Rocket on the other hand (wisely) just let’s him be the complete asshole that he is. It revels in his awfulness and makes you laugh at him rather than with him. I don’t want to like him, but I have no problem laughing at him.
Back to Simon Rex though because that effect can only work with the right performance. His performance is such a perfect blend of scum and charisma that you actually enjoy watching him be an asshole. He’s hilarious! It never feels like he’s forcing us to root for him but rather making us want to “watch what he does next”.
The colour palette in this film is gorgeous also. It’s warm and colourful and remarkably low-key also. It’s beautiful without sacrificing it’s naturalistic tone.
I do think it runs a little long and it also is missing a little extra impact to set it over the edge. It’s fun while it is on but I don’t think it’s the kinda film that will linger with me for a long time. With the exception of Bye Bye Bye destined to be stuck in my head for the rest of the day.