December 10, 2009

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Transylmania (R)
A group of booze-, bud- and boob-obsessed college students spend a semester abroad in Romania — think there will be vampires? — in Transylmania.

So, let’s see if I can get this right: Transylmania is a sequel of sorts to some direct-to-DVD release called National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze 2, which was itself a sequel to National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze, which received a very limited release before finding what is apparently enough success in the DVD market to warrant all these sequels (according to that trusted news source, Wikipedia). So those are the waters we’re swimming in.

Because a middle-aged-looking college student named Rusty (Oren Skoog) has started an online affair with a Romanian girl named Draguta (Irena A. Hoffman), he and his band of skuzzy college friends pack up the one brain cell they share between them and head to Transylvania for a semester abroad. Allow me to skip the plot description (vampires attempt to revive an evil sorceress) and go right to the thing that might attract one to this movie — the crude (and crudely constructed) sight gags and potty humor. There are some farting horses, lots of pot jokes, a girl with a hunchback, some mildly homophobic humor about dudes kissing, at least one case of penis injury, a lot of orgy talk and a joke about a local delicacy that features both goat’s and sheep’s testicles. And those are the cleverest, most memorable parts of the film.

Movies like this make you ask yourself some core questions, in my case, specifically about the grading of the movies that have slid this far down into the muck of cinematic awfulness. For example, the recent Old Dogs received a “D+” from me. But was it really more of an “F” (after all, the D and the + were due almost entirely to, like, three funny moments)? Or is this movie the “F” — an entire scene about vomit, a sight gag featuring one giant boob. Old Dogs failed despite the potential for actual chemistry between John Travolta and Robin Williams and what was probably a grown-up movie budget. Transylmania was likely built to be this awful. Which is the greater crime?

More than anything else, Transylmania is tiring. It’s like sitting through an endless knock-knock joke (that “orange you glad I didn’t say banana” one for example) for a punchline that you know will be stupid. It doesn’t really have fun with its crudeness. Old Dogs had the one scene with John Travolta’s face contorting and spazzing in frightening ways; Transylmania doesn’t even have that. F

Rated R for crude and sexual content, nudity, drug use, language and some violence. Directed by David and Scott Hillenbrand and written by Patrick Casey and Worm Miller, Transylmania is an hour and 35 minutes long and is distributed in wide release by Full Circle.