August 26, 2010

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Vampires Suck (PG-13)
The Twilight movies get the Scary Movie/Date Movie/Epic Movie treatment in Vampires Suck, a tiresome joke-a-minute parody.

Becca Crane (Jenn Proske) comes to the gloomy town of Sporks where she meets Edward Sullen (Matt Lanter), an exceptionally pale, poofy-haired youngster who is, like so many in Sporks, a vampire. They take a slow amusement park ride through various scenes from the Twilight movies, some of which involve Jacob White (Chris Riggi), another teen besotted with Becca — this one slowly turning into a dog. We get a prom with a red-hood-filled vampire festival theme and a trio of vampire villains, one of whom disappears because she has been recast.

Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer wrote and directed this movie and are the writers/directors behind Date Movie, Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans and Disaster Movie and also have many of the Scary Movie movies on their writing résumé. As with those movies, Vampires Suck relies extremely heavily on physical comedy for the jokes that aren’t simply about recognizing scenes and characters from the source films. A kick to the crotch here, a bump on the head there. This non-stop pratfallery combined with a weird faithfulness to capturing the scenes and tone of the original movies makes Vampires Suck seem to move at a glacial pace. Sub-glacial. What would immortality be like? Twenty minutes of the eternity that is this movie really sell you on the sweet release of death.

And as in those movies, the jokes in this movie are mostly groaners. Particularly with the Twilight movies, a lot of what this movie makes fun of is already funny in the original films: the ridiculous hair on Edward, the general sulkiness of everyone, the alt-sad soundtrack, the whole vampires-glitter-in-the-sunlight thing. There is a very explaining-the-joke feel to a lot of the humor, a quality that particularly wears since the Twilight movies are really the only thing being poked fun at here. Whereas other movies in the Friedberg/Seltzer oeuvre are mocking a genre, here it’s all focused on pretty much two movies — Twilight and New Moon. This level of specificity does allow the jokes that land to be more spot-on — there is a cute Catherine Hardwicke joke and a rather funny bit about the strange attraction all males have to Becca despite her being something of a drip — but sadly there aren’t enough of these meta-observations. The movie has a fancy little swoosh noise that accompanies the discovery that anyone is a vampire — a nice touch that could have been built on to make the movie something more than just a sum of leftover Twilight parts. D+

Rated PG-13 for crude sexual content, comic violence, language and teen partying. Written and directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, Vampires Suck is an hour and 29 minutes long and distributed in wide release by 20th Century Fox.