Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Best Of The Friedberg/Seltzer Parodies, Vampires Suck Still . . . Well, Sucks.

The Good: Casting, Moments of performance
The Bad: Not funny, Not clever, Off-point bits flop hard.
The Basics: Another lame flick that starts as a parody of vampire movies, Vampires Suck quickly becomes tedious and a general lampoon of pop culture that fails to amuse.

August is a pretty dismal time for movies. I know that doesn't sound terribly professional, but it is very hard to stay in a professional voice when one has finished watching Vampires Suck, the latest parody movie from Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the creative team that brought us Epic Movie and Disaster Movie (among others). In their current bit of cinematic pointlessness, the duo targets the Twilight Saga as the primary source material.

Becca Crane is the new girl in town and she begins to fall for Edward Sullen, the hot boy in school who also turns out to be a vampire. Becca, meanwhile, begins to be attracted to Jacob, who can't seem to keep his shirt on. As Becca tries to decide which one she wants more, she is hunted by a trio of vampires who want her dead.

The plot follows generally with the plots of Twilight and New Moon, with the Sullens going crazy when Becca gets a paper cut. Becca spends her time with Jacob while Edward makes moves to kill himself.

Vampires Suck quickly devolves, like many of the Friedberg/Seltzer productions into a series of slapstick jokes that have nothing to do with the source material they are attempting to criticize. The points they want to make – like Edward's hair being ridiculous or Bella Swan (in Twilight, parodied as Becca Crane) being a melodramatic parody of a young woman as opposed to being a vital character – are pretty much one-note jokes and once they hit, the writers still have to fill up the rest of the ninety minutes (like the last few parodies by the team, they fail to make this a full 90 minute work, though the "unrated" version which is hardly more risque has made up the balance). As a result, the movie turns into gags featuring several other sources. While Buffy The Vampire Slayer and the allusion to Wolf might fit a general theme for the vampire parody movie, the parodies of Lady Gaga, Alice In Wonderland and current popular teen-themed television shows like The Jersey Shore do not.

Instead, the movie degenerates into a series of jokes that are notable mostly for the fact that they are not funny. Like most movies oriented toward the teen demographic – Vampires Suck was released as a PG-13 film with the “Unrated” version dropping on DVD – the humor is oriented toward jokes that make fun of body functions (the vampire strength jokes get old fast and are replaced with fart gags and slapstick humor that involves more posturing than anything else) and jokes at the expense of other people (homosexuals take the brunt of many of the jokes, though teen girls are lampooned pretty consistently as well). Most of the humor is simply not funny and sitting through the movie becomes an exercise in pointlessness: it does not get better as it goes on.

At the moments Friedberg and Seltzer (who also directed the movie) seem most creative, they manage to lift from superior works. So, for example, in a moment when Becca cuts herself, we see a vampire's view of her. This has a hamburger replace her face. This would be clever if Spike in Buffy The Vampire Slayer hadn't made the comment in an early episode about how people were walking around like little happy meals for vampires. The audience that is smart enough to appreciate the joke does not need it as a visual gag.

Of course, Vampires Suck is not intended for a smart audience, it's lowest common denominator humor and it barely registers as humor after the first ten minutes. I laughed a grand total of three times (the best moments are in the trailer).

As for the usual fronts, the plot is a loose parody of the Twilight Saga with random jokes about pop culture thrown in to fill in everything not in the trailer. The characters do not develop or grow. As for the acting, the best is Jenn Proske. Proske captures Kristen Stewart's awkward acting and deliveries and it becomes painful to watch her after a while. While it is initially funny, after a time Proske just comes across as a half-rate version of Stewart. Still, she shines compared to Matt Lantern and Chris Riggi whose talents in this movie are not at all apparent. In fact, the only actor whose performance actually stands out is Charlie Webber. Webber plays James, a parody of Cam Gigadent's character by the same name in Twilight and he looks and moves just like him, which makes his absurd lines work at times.

Ultimately, though, Vampires Suck is another movie not worth watching, not even on DVD. The parody book New Moan is marginally funnier than this. That might have been repetitive and lampooned Stephanie Meyer’s writing style, but it at least stayed focused. Parents: despite not having much in the way of offensive language, there is nothing redeeming about letting your kids see Vampires Suck. And adults, you should know better.

For other films with Ken Jeong, please check out my reviews of:
Transformers: Dark Of The Moon
The Hangover, Part II
Despicable Me
Furry Vengeance
Couples Retreat
The Hangover
Step Brothers


For other film reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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