Archive for the Parodies Category

Screaming Streaming: CASA DE MI PADRE (2012)

Posted in 2013, Comedies, Just Plain Bad, Michael Arruda Reviews, Parodies, R-Rated Comedy, Screaming Streaming with tags , , , , , on June 18, 2013 by knifefighter

SCREAMING STREAMING!
Streaming Video Movie Review:  CASA DE MI PADRE (2012)
By Michael Arruda

casa-de-mi-padre poster

I get it

Will Ferrell has made so many movies and has achieved so much success, he’s at the point in his career where he can do whatever he wants, like making movies that are experimental and offbeat, and stand little chance of making money at the box office.

I get it.  But that doesn’t mean I liked CASA DE MI PADRE, a movie that is indeed offbeat—it’s in Spanish with English subtitles— yet isn’t all that funny, nor is it much of an action movie.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like the idea of a quirky movie, but it’s got to work.  This movie doesn’t work.

In CASA DE MI PADRE (2012), now available on Streaming Video, Armando (Will Ferrell) is the black sheep of his family.  His father Miguel (Pedro Armendariz, Jr.) is always calling him stupid, and while he does work on his father’s ranch, we see him spending his days hanging around with his buddies.  When his brother Raul (Diego Luna) returns home with his beautiful fiancée Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez), he’s welcomed with open arms by his father, but it turns out Raul is really a drug dealer who’s at war with the local drug lord, Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal), who happens to be Sonia’s uncle.

Onza’s goons shoot up Raul’s and Sonia’s wedding, creating a bloodbath in the one stylish scene in the movie, leaving Armando to seek vengeance against Onza and to save his family’s honor

I kept waiting for CASA DE MI PADRE to be funny.  I’m still waiting.

I don’t think I laughed once, and that’s no joke.  Not a good sign for a comedy. Sure, it’s possible I could have missed the point.  I could have missed the good intentions of what Ferrell and company were trying to do here.  I’ll admit that.  Then again, CASA DE MI PADRE just might be a bad movie.

Ferrell plays it straight here.  Even though his character Armando is supposed to be a simpleton, he’s really not.  He’s no goofy idiot bumbling his way through situations a la a Mexican Inspector Clouseau.  He’s supposed to be an honorable man with a touch of spiritualism, a hero.  Gag.

I suppose the joke is that it’s Will Ferrell and he’s playing it straight in a Mexican action movie.  I suppose this is supposed to be funny.  So, if you’re into seeing a serious Ferrell play a Mexican farmer battling a Mexican drug lord, and you think that’s humorous, then this might be the movie for you. 

For a comedy, the jokes just aren’t there.  The screenplay by Andrew Steele is about as funny as Taco Bell ad.  I’ll take that back. I’ve seen funnier Taco Bell ads.  In all fairness, I’d guess that the screenplay accomplishes what the writer and director and Ferrell wanted it to accomplish.  There doesn’t seem to be much effort or interest in creating a straight comedy

Instead, the interest seems to be in creating an authentic Mexican action movie, and to get laughs simply through weird scenes and offbeat dialogue, as in, let’s have Ferrell deliver these serious lines with a straight face, and won’t this be funny! 

Here’s my answer:  no.

Director Matt Piedmont hasn’t made much of an action movie either.  There’s one decent action scene, the bloodbath at the wedding, but that’s it.  The rest of the action is incredibly flat.  So, without comedy, without action, you’re left with a Spanish language drama starring Will Ferrell, the type of thing you’d catch on your local Spanish language TV channel.

Genesis Rodriguez is drop dead gorgeous and in all seriousness is the only reason to see this movie.  But do you really want to sit through 90 minutes of CASA DE MI PADRE just to see Rodriguez?  Heck, even her nude love scene is ruined by frequent shots of Will Ferrell’s naked butt.  Yes, sadly, you will see more of Ferrell’s naked butt than Rodriguez’s.  What were the filmmakers thinking? 

Genesis Rodriguez - the only reason to see CASA DE MI PADRE.

Genesis Rodriguez – the only reason to see CASA DE MI PADRE.

I honestly felt as if the joke was on the audience.  Let’s make this as unfunny as possible and see what people say about it.  It’s as if they wanted to see our faces and laugh.

There are also some weird spiritual aspects to the story, including a talking mountain lion, which is so fake looking it makes the TWILIGHT werewolves look good!  It looks like a Muppet reject.  This lion talks to Ferrell and raises him from the dead.  Huh?  You know, maybe if you’ve had a few drinks before you see this one—.

There’s also some goofy songs sung by Ferrell and Rodriguez, but these miss the mark as well

In fact, the whole film misses the mark.  It’s so bad, I wish I hadn’t seen it

I chose to review CASA DE MI PADRE because it was an R-rated comedy, something we review regularly here at Cinema Knife Fight.  It’s about as far removed from traditional R-rated comedies as you can get.  It’s rated R because of its one nude scene (hey, is that still Will Ferrell’s butt?  Somebody make it stop!)  There’s also that one bloody scene at the wedding, but that’s about it folks.  The rest of the movie is hopelessly lame.

But didn’t I like the quirkiness of the whole thing?  The deadpan style of Will Ferrell?  His goofy buddies?  About those buddies— when the funniest thing they do is laugh, you know you’re in trouble.  Again, I felt as if they were laughing at the audience.  Yep, the joke is on us. 

Didn’t I like the scene with the severed hand?  You mean the hand that looked like it was bought from Toys R Us?  But wasn’t that funny?  That it looked fake?  No. 

Didn’t I like the strange camera angles?  The weird props?  The fake-looking mountain lion?  The mannequin?  You mean, the stuff that looked like it belonged in a Pee Wee Herman movie?  You know, I might have, if Pee Wee Herman had been around, but sadly, he’s not.

This is all a roundabout way of saying what you already know, that this movie simply didn’t work for me, not on any level.

As a result, I give CASA DE MI PADRE a whopping 0 Knives.

Don’t waste your time on this one.  Save yourself the torture and have a Dos Equis instead.

—END–

© Copyright 2013 by Michael Arruda

Michael Arruda gives CASA DE MI PADRE ZERO KNIVES!

Zero

 

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A HAUNTED HOUSE (2012)

Posted in 2013, Comedies, Evil Spirits, Exorcism Movies, Faux Documentaries, Fun Stuff!, Ghosts!, Haunted Houses, LL Soares Reviews, Parodies, Possessed By Demons, R-Rated Comedy, Spoofs with tags , , , , , , , on January 14, 2013 by knifefighter

A HAUNTED HOUSE (2013)
Movie Review by L.L. Soares

A-Haunted-House-poster

While Michael was seeing GANGSTER SQUAD, I opted to check out this comedy starring Marlon Wayans instead, and I’m glad I did. A HAUNTED HOUSE, despite the lame, generic title, is actually a pretty good comedy, taking aim at all of the “found footage” horror films we’ve been subjected to lately, from the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY films, to THE LAST EXORCISM (2010) and last year’s THE DEVIL INSIDE.

The found footage genre is so prevalent in the movies these days, that it was only a matter of time before someone skewered them. So along comes actor/writer Marlon Wayans (who’s been in everything from the TV show IN LIVING COLOR, 1992 – 2001, to the first two SCARY MOVIEs and WHITE CHICKS, 2004), to do the skewering.

Marlon stars as Malcolm, a likeable guy who tells us early on that this is a big day, because his girlfriend, Kisha (Essence Atkins), is finally moving into his house. Like the people in those PARANORMAL ACTIVITY movies, Malcolm is obsessed with filming everything that goes on in his house. Things start off on a bad foot when Kisha runs over his poor little dog pulling into the driveway, and they just get worse from there. When Kisha is upset that her keys are on the floor (How did they get there?!!), she immediately deduces that the house must be haunted and calls in a psychic named Chip (Nick Swardson), who seems a little too interested in Malcolm. When things get weirder, Malcolm calls in a security guy named Dan (David Koechner) to install cameras all over the inside and outside of his house, so that he can keep track of the “ghost.” An especially funny scene involves Malcolm’s cousin Ray-Ray (Affion Crockett) and his crew, a group of thugs who are determined to get to the bottom of the haunting, but find out it’s not that easy to intimidate a supernatural being.

When Malcolm and Kisha determine that it’s not a ghost at all, but a malicious demon (!), there’s a funny flashback to Kisha’s childhood with her callous Mom (Robin Thede) and Dad (the always hilarious J.B. Smoove), that delves into the origins of Kisha’s demon problem. Malcolm and Kisha do everything they can to get rid of their unwanted visitor, including getting stoned with the invisible creep (they all get mellow and engage ins some supernatural hijinks), and even having sex with the demon (while Kisha has a good time with this, Malcolm’s experience isn’t quite so pleasant).

Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) and Kisha (Essence Atkins) find themselves in A HAUNTED HOUSE.

Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) and Kisha (Essence Atkins) find themselves in A HAUNTED HOUSE.

When Kisha finally gets possessed by the demon (and we get into EXORCISM territory), Malcolm finally has to call in the big guns, which include psychic Chip, Dan and his cameraman sidekick, Bob (Dave Sheridan), who have their own paranormal TV show (on the Internet and cable access) and the local priest (and ex-con), Father Williams (Cedric the Entertainer, who’s really good here). They chase the possessed Kisha all over the house, with funny results.

Directed by Michael Tiddes, and written by Marlon Wayans and Rick Alvarez, A HAUNTED HOUSE could easily be part of the SCARY MOVIE franchise, but those movies have been taken over by the Zucker Brothers (the guys behind the AIRPLANE and NAKED GUN movies). That said, A HAUNTED HOUSE seemed to be funnier than the usual SCARY MOVIE installment, with a higher ratio of laughs.

Marlon Wayans does a fine job as our “hero,” Malcolm. Essence Atkins is really funny as Kisha, and the entire cast is pretty solid. Other supporting players include Andrew Daly (who you might recognize from the HBO series EASTBOUND AND DOWN) and Alanna Ubach, as Steve and Jenny, a swinger couple who are friends with Malcolm and Kisha, and who are always trying to get them to swap partners (Malcolm is completely clueless to their intentions), and Marlene Forte as Malcolm’s maid, Rosa, who is up to some very surprising shenanigans when the couple is away.

If a comedy is judged by how much you laugh, then A HAUNTED HOUSE is a success. I laughed a lot, and so did the packed audience I saw it with. The gags in this one come fast and furious, and most of them work. It doesn’t hurt that the movies this one is spoofing have created their own list of clichés just waiting to be goofed on.

I give A HAUNTED HOUSE, three knives. But man, do I wish they had come up with a better title.

© Copyright 2013 by L.L. Soares

LL Soares gives A HAUNTED HOUSE ~three knives.

haunted_house_ver2

THE DICTATOR (2012)

Posted in 2012, Comedies, Controverisal Films, LL Soares Reviews, Parodies, R-Rated Comedy with tags , , , , , , on May 18, 2012 by knifefighter

THE DICTATOR
Movie Review by L.L. Soares

I have to admit, I was dreading going to see Sacha Baron Cohen’s new movie, THE DICTATOR, mostly because I have been seeing the trailers for the movie every week for what seems like six months now, and I’ve seen the same jokes over and over, and I was afraid that these were the best scenes in the movie, and it would turn out to be very unfunny otherwise.

Luckily, that’s not the case. The people marketing Cohen’s movie did something very clever. The trailers actually include scenes not in the movie – or scenes that are very different (outtakes, probably)—and therefore, a lot of the comedy we do see in the movie is fresh. Some scenes that are in the movie, like Admiral General Aladeen (Cohen) running in his own version of the Olympics and shooting his competitors, happen right away in the beginning of the movie, so the fact that you might be immune to them by now shouldn’t affect your reaction to THE DICTATOR as a whole…too much. This is the problem with comedy—if you see something funny over and over, it can lose its kick, and fizzle like soda left out overnight.

So, all that said, how is THE DICTATOR? Well, I went in with low expectations, and I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Although this one stars Cohen and is directed once again by Larry Charles (who also directed Cohen in his previous films BORAT, 2006 and BRUNO, 2009), it’s a departure from Cohen’s usual modus operandi, where he plays characters who interact with real people, to capture their genuine reactions. In THE DICTATOR, everyone is a fictional character, so there are no “ambushes of the innocent.” This is too bad, because Cohen is at his funniest when he is at his most spontaneous, and yet THE DICTATOR works very well as a comedy about a ruthless despot.

Right off the bat you know what you’re in for, when a dedication flashes onscreen. “In loving memory of Kim Jong-il.” And then we are whisked away to the North African country of Wadiya, ruled over with an iron thumb by Cohen’s Aladeen. One of the running jokes is that whenever anyone questions him, or even accidentally gets in his way on the stairs, he has his men execute them. So everyone in his country are “yes men” and Aladeen is like a very obnoxious brat in a humungous toy store, where he can do whatever he wants. Including refining weapons-grade uranium.

When he’s called to the carpet for his attempt at getting a “weapon of mass destruction,” Aladeen agrees to go to America to address the United Nations. So he and his second in command, Uncle Tamir (Ben Kinglsey, that SEXY BEAST (2000) himself—Cohen and Kingsley also recently co-starred in Martin Scorcese’s film HUGO, 2011), and their minions, all go to New York City.

After a secret agent (John C. Reilly) sent to torture Aladeen shaves off the despot’s beard and tries to kill him, Aladeen is out on the streets, desperate to figure out how to get back into the hotel, where a moronic shepherd who happens to look just like him (also Cohen) is masquerading as the dictator himself.

It turns out that Tamir has an agenda of his own, which includes turning Wadiya into a democracy (the first thing he has the imposter shout out at the U.N, when he thinks that the real Aladeen is dead) and selling off oil leases to the highest bidders.

Along the way to recapturing his throne, Aladeen comes upon Zoey (Anna Faris) an activist with the bowl cut hairdo of a boy, the armpits of a yak, and who runs a radical feminist food collective in downtown Manhattan. She thinks the beardless Aladeen is trying to get back into the hotel because he is a Wadiyan rebel, protesting his leader, and Aladeen takes full advantage of this misunderstanding to get a job at Zoey’s store, and plan his next move.

Aladeen, of course, being the racist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic monster that he is, spouts comments throughout the movie that are politically incorrect and purposely offensive. He’s supposed to be a horrible person, after all, and Cohen’s dictator fits the bill just fine as a man we love to hate. Strangely enough though, as the movie goes on, we even start to feel sorry for his character as he appears to be on the verge of enlightenment. Whether or not he actually changes his ways for real is something you’ll have to see the movie to find out, however.

Scenes that are particularly funny include a helicopter ride where Aladeen and his former nuclear expert, Nadal (Jason Mantzoukas), talk in (fake) Arabaic, scaring the hell out of a middle-aged American couple also onboard; a lengthy, graphic and very funny “woman having a baby in the middle of a store” scene; and Aladeen’s desperate attempt to foil his double’s signing of a new constitution that will give his subjects the right to vote in free elections.

There’s even a speech by Aladeen toward the end that would fit right in at an Occupy Wall Street rally, that is touching, ironic, and hilarious all at the same time.

I really don’t want to go into too much detail about the gags themselves. That would just ruin the impact of the humor. Suffice it to say that I laughed a lot during this one, and was surprised at how much I liked it. While it doesn’t even come close to the brilliance of BORAT, THE DICTATOR is pretty successful in reaching the goals it sets for itself. I give it three knives.

© Copyright 2012 by L.L. Soares

LL Soares gives THE DICTATOR ~three  knives.

Larry Blamire Double Feature: THE LOST SKELETON RETURNS AGAIN and DARK AND STORMY NIGHT

Posted in 2010, B-Movies, Campy Movies, Daniel Keohane Reviews, Just Plain Fun, Parodies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2010 by knifefighter

CKF Double Feature: THE LOST SKELETON RETURNS AGAIN and DARK AND STORMY NIGHT
Two reviews for the price of one by Daniel G. Keohane

THE LOST SKELETON RETURNS AGAIN (2010 DVD release)

THE LOST SKELETON RETURNS AGAIN (2010) is the long-awaited sequel to the brilliantly funny THE LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA (2001), which I reviewed earlier this month. In that review I compared the film to AIRPLANE (1980), another brilliant, offbeat comedy. Like the sequel to that film, I was excited to at last sit and watch the return of the Skeleton. And, like AIRPLANE 2: THE SEQUEL (1982), two things struck me: 1) My expectations were way too high going into it, which everyone knows dooms a film even before the mandatory French copyright warning is over, and 2) Any sequel to something as original as its predecessor needs to be different enough not to feel like, well, a sequel.

I’m glad THE LOST SKELETON RETURNS AGAIN was made, even if it does not reach the level of gut-busting hilarity as the original. There were some very funny scenes in the film, and it was great fun seeing the characters from the original once more (or their twin brothers, since two characters who had died in the original, Dr. Roger Fleming and Ranger Brad, are back as twin brother Paul Fleming, and Jungle Brad, twin to Ranger Brad – a running joke throughout that really shouldn’t have been funny each time, but always was).

In many scenes, this movie felt more like a family reunion than a stand-alone film. Each character’s appearance was like a favorite uncle or aunt making their dramatic entrance. Like the original, everyone is on the prowl, sometimes literally, for a rare mineral to be used for their own devices: this time the recently-discovered Geranium 90. Three distinct groups set off to the Amazonian region of Menalusia to be the first to find this rare rock because, for one group at least, rocks play an important part in national security. The opening scenes are quite funny, and I wish there was more screen time for the daffy general (H.M. Wynant) who sends his agent (Reet Pappin, played by Frank Dietz) to locate the mineral before the evil entrepreneur Handscomb Draile gets his greedy mitts on it. The one scene featuring Draile (Robert Deveau) had me roaring. Even now, if I say the word “slowly” around my daughters they immediately repeat “slooowly” and start laughing.

I’ve become a major fan of Brian Howe (2007’s EVAN ALMIGHTY and JOURNEYMAN) both for his hilarious role as good twin Peter Fleming in this film and for his part in DARK AND STORMY NIGHT (2010) which will be reviewed in a moment. Fleming becomes the Lost Skeleton’s new stooge. The skeleton has been reduced to a lowly, but no less funny and diabolical, skull for this film. The back and forth between Fleming and the Lost Skull of Cadavra (as before, I have no idea who does its voice but he’s perfect at it) was priceless throughout.

Eventually, every character, and some new ones, make it to the Amazon, including the goofy alien couple Lattis and Kro-Bar, and the woman-created-from-woodland-creatures: Animala. Now, many of the jokes will zip right past anyone who has not seen the original film, and having already seen that one is key to watching THE LOST SKELETON RETURNS AGAIN. Although it could be watched without knowing its predecessor, much of the humor and enjoyment is in seeing the characters again, and the inside jokes bandied about between them. It shines most as a solo endeavor whenever a new character is introduced, including the high priest of the Cantaloupe people, Bentivegitantus (John Stuart West), who spouts half-completed prophesies like a professional. It’s in the new characters that director Larry Blamire’s writing shines again. They are blank slates on which he can do what he does best. For the returning characters, he treats them with affection, but isn’t able to expand much on them, save his own character Paul Armstrong. Now morose and jaded from years in the jungle, Armstrong spouts non-stop diatribes out of the era’s best (or worst) jungle films. His character’s negativism is constantly played against both his hilariously naïve wife Betty Armstrong (Fay Masterson) and Jungle Brad (Dan Conroy), whose optimism verbally spars with Armstrong’s pessimism throughout the movie.

When I began, I mentioned how this film had my high expectations working against it at the outset, however, when I watched it a second time for this review, I found myself laughing more than I had during the first viewing. That said, I need to wrap this up because I want to jump into the review for Blamire’s only-slightly newer film, DARK AND STORMY NIGHT (2010), which had me busting a gut almost as must as the original SKELETON. In short, if you loved THE LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA, then…RETURNS AGAIN is a fun, goofy way of seeing these characters one more time, with quite a few laughs thrown in. Just don’t expect there to be as many as the original.  If you want that, rent:

DARK AND STORMY NIGHT (2010, DVD release)

I’m very happy to say that with Blamire’s film DARK AND STORMY NIGHT, both his writing and his offbeat, quirky troupe of actors are in peak form once again.

Like any genre parody, I suppose you should be at least vaguely acquainted with the old-style “drawing room mystery” flick to fully appreciate what’s being done here, but it’s not required. The writing is quick and funny, and the actors play their characters with as much love and melodrama as they did in the SKELETON films (yes, every actor from those movies are back, new and shiny in glorious black and white). Their timing is pitch-perfect. Each is, of course, a caricature of so many Clue-ish characters from a history filled with Agatha Christie and her Hercule Poirot novels (and films). Throw in an homage or two to Abbot and Costello by regulars Daniel Roebuck (THE LOST SKELETON RETURNS AGAIN and of course the “Guy Who Got Blown Up” on LOST), and Dan Conroy (Ranger/Jungle Brad of the SKELETON films), as reporter 8 O’Clock Farady and his beleaguered cab driver Happy Codburn, and the old Tracy/Hepburn films, as played out between Roebuck’s reporter and rival newswoman Billy Tuesday (Jennifer Blare, Amimala from the SKELETON films). Early on, I sometimes found the constant pseudo-1920’s bantering a bit grating, but it grew on me, especially as more colorful characters were introduced and the film gained hilarious steam.

Family members and business acquaintances arrive for the reading of the late Sinas Cavindar’s will, on a requisite dark and stormy night. Joining them, a few bizarre characters who just happened to have become lost in the storm and wandered onto the Cavinder estate, at least… that’s what they say (cue lightening). Each is greeted by the semi- and not-so-semi-psychotic staff members of the Cavindar household.

My favorite, and another reason why I singled him out in the above review of …RETURNS AGAIN, was the thinly-mustached and insufferably-pompous nephew of the deceased, Burling Famish, Jr, played by Brian Howe, barely recognizable as the Fleming twins of the two SKELETON films. I’m sorry, but every time he delivered a line I just cracked up. And the award for best one-liners in any film goes to writer/director Larry Blamire’s character Ray Vestinhaus (in a pivotal scene, for example, someone suggests two characters are “in cahoots” to which Vestinhaus announces, “Gee, I sure hope so, considering how bad the weather is outside”… come on, that’s funny!).

I’m highlighting a couple of examples, but every character in this movie is played to perfection, albeit as over-the-top as possible. From the schizophrenic psychic Mrs. Cupcupboard (Alison Martin) and Jack Tugdon, the deceased’s morose hunting companion (Jim Beaver), to the hapless young heiress (Fay Masterson). Now, as you would expect, every time the lights go out someone dies, to the point that whenever it gets dark everybody screams because they’re certain they’ll be dead when the lights return.

In Blamire’s previous two SKELETON films, there were times when the action dragged a little, slowing the momentum. Not here. Perhaps because there was so much material to play with, and so many actors having loads of fun in their roles, nothing felt like filler or a scene that might have been better left on the cutting room floor. It moves quickly, to the point you’re sad to see it end.

So much happens in this movie that giving any kind of synopsis more than I already have would not do it justice, so I won’t bother. If you’ve seen any old black and white murder mysteries, then you’ve got the idea. Hell, if you’ve seen any satire of these kinds of films, like the brilliant (but not quite as funny as Blamire’s film) MURDER BY DEATH (1976), you’ll get it, because DARK AND STORMY NIGHT parodies the parodies as much as the films that tried to be serious with their subject. Don’t expect a lot of logic in the plot’s progression. There’s some, enough to be annoying, but mostly chaos and quick one-liners which carry you through to the dramatic conclusion. (No, it’s not dramatic, it’s silly and funny, like the rest of the movie).

Suffice to say, if you enjoyed the original THE LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA, or even if you didn’t, rent DARK AND STORMY NIGHT. Then, just sit back and enjoy it for what it is. A funny, loving homage to everything Mystery, a film where, like the others Blamire has made, the actors are obviously having such a wonderful time you wish you could have been there with them – but renting the movie is as close as most of us will come, so queue it up soon. You won’t regret it unless, when the lights come back on and the credits roll, they find you with a knife sticking out of your back. That wouldn’t be funny— except in this film.

In DARK AND STORMY NIGHT—it’s a riot.

© Copyright 2010 by Daniel G. Keohane

VAMPIRES SUCK

Posted in 2010, Colleen Wanglund Reviews, Parodies, Vampires, Werewolves with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2010 by knifefighter

VAMPIRES SUCK (AND SO DOES THIS MOVIE)
Review by Colleen Wanglund

Written and directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, who also gave us DISASTER MOVIE (2008), MEET THE SPARTANS (2008), and SCARY MOVIE (2000) (and all of its sequels), VAMPIRES SUCK is a movie spoof of TWILIGHT (2008) and NEW MOON (2009).  I’m not usually one for spoof movies (although I thought AIRPLANE! {1980} was hysterical) but I was apparently the only one brave enough here at CinemaKnifeFight.com to see it.  I decided to take my daughter Darlene with me because, unlike me, she has seen the movies it spoofs.  Needless to say, each of us came away with a different take on VAMPIRES SUCK.  She liked it more than I did.

For those of you who have never seen TWILIGHT (2008) or NEW MOON (2009), they’re basically teen angst/romance stories with vampires and werewolves thrown in.  Bella Swan moves to Forks, Washington where she meets Edward Cullen, the vampire and Jacob Black, the werewolf.  She falls in love with Edward who later decides they can’t be together and Jacob falls in love with her and Bella basically says sorry but no.  Bella is attacked by a vampire in TWILIGHT and Edward saves her.  Bella is attacked by another vampire in NEW MOON and Jacob saves her.  Bella starts to pursue some self-destructive behavior to get Edward’s attention, after he leaves her.  At some point, Edward thinks Bella has died and so he decides he doesn’t want to live anymore.  He goes to Italy to “expose” himself to the world, so the other vampires will kill him.  Bella shows up at the last minute to save him.  There you go—two movies’ worth of teen angst and romance trying to also pass itself off as horror—in a nutshell.  Did I mention that I wouldn’t even give the original movies (or books) a peek?

Now for the movie I actually saw.

In VAMPIRES SUCK, Becca Crane moves to Sporks, Washington where she meets Edward Sullen and Jacob White.  Becca falls in love with Edward, but then decides they can’t be together.  Jacob falls in love with Becca, but she tells him sorry but no.  Basically the same as above, but full of jokes—mostly lame ones.  There are the obvious jokes about how Edward looks—the white skin, the hair, the clothes—with Becca referring to Edward’s look at one point as “heroin chic”.  When we first see Edward he’s got a powder compact in his hands.  There are also the obvious jokes about Jacob being a werewolf—he chases cats, has a tail hanging out of his jeans, and a very hairy chest.  The more mature members of Jacob’s pack show up to help him save Becca and do a song and dance number that reminded me of the old Chippendale dancers.  No one actually changes into a werewolf.  The scenes with Becca’s father Frank were not funny and almost uncomfortable to watch.  Upon bringing Becca home from the airport Frank tells her he kept her room the same as she left it (she lived with her mother in Nevada).  He opens the door and there is a crib and the bedroom is full of all kinds of dolls including Dad’s blow-up sex doll.  That scene came after her father commented on how grown up Becca is by pointing out her breast size.  Other lame jokes include Frank (the sheriff) using Jacob as a bloodhound to track a killer through the woods after a fisherman ends up dead, and Becca’s paper cut turning into a full on bleeder in front of Edward’s family (also vampires).  I believe the line was “I think I hit an artery.”  There’s also a scene where Becca is walking to her truck parked by “dangerous” bikers and she imagines Edward telling her that they’re dangerous, and she gets an empty beer can to the head…boring.  There’s also a very tasteless scene where Becca takes off her nightgown and is wearing a black pleather light-up bra and panties, complete with garters and black stockings.

What I liked about VAMPIRES SUCK are the three young stars.  Jenn Proske plays Becca Crane and plays her exactly like Kristin Stewart’s character Bella in the TWILIGHT films.  She had her mannerisms down to a tee; all of the ticks, over-blinking eyes, fluttery lips, and constantly pushing her hair behind her ear.  Jenn Proske didn’t need to exaggerate anything.  She was completely annoying and she was great at it!  Matt Lanter was quite funny as the sparkly Edward, exaggerating his Emo style without going too overboard.  The scenes where he’s riding a Segway were quite amusing. Chris Riggi was just as funny as Jacob, who is somewhat serious in the TWILIGHT movies but played it off here with the right amount comedy.  I found myself actually laughing the first time Jacob saw a cat and darted after it.  The writers had him as more of a dog than a werewolf….almost like a cute little puppy.  I also enjoyed seeing the tweens wearing Team Edward or Team Jacob tee shirts beating the crap out of each other with shovels and two by fours during the high school prom, which is where the climax of the spoof takes place.  The prom’s theme is vampires, and it’s meant to mimic the Saint Salvatore festival in Italy where the actual NEW MOON climax takes place.  There’s a song that Becca listens to on her iPod that is basically an Emo teen’s mantra—“my life is awful, I’m so depressed, why can’t I have an alternative boyfriend?—“it was so good they should put it on iTunes.

Darlene’s take on VAMPIRES SUCK was a bit different than mine.  I heard her laughing a bit more than I did.  She thought it was pretty funny, but not hilarious.  Darlene thinks you should see TWILIGHT and NEW MOON to really get the jokes in this spoof.  She points out a quote by Becca early in the movie that Darlene says describes Bella, the original character exactly—“I’m boring, have no real personality and yet every hot guy loves me.”  As far as the actors go, Darlene agrees with me about Jenn Proske—thinks she’s even better than Kristen Stewart.  She thought Matt Lanter was just like Edward with the comedic twist, and that Chris Riggi as Jacob “was cute.”  My other daughter Erica said the only purpose for Jacob in the original movies WAS to be cute.  My girls were on opposite sides of the “Edward or Jacob” argument at one time.

This was not a movie I would have gone to see on my own.  I really did take a bullet for the team on this one.  As Darlene said, you should probably have seen the TWILIGHT movies to get all of the jokes in VAMPIRES SUCK.  I didn’t see them (thankfully) and thought the movie overall was pretty lame.  I will say, though that I’m very picky when it comes to comedy.  I grew up on Monty Python, the Three Stooges, the Marx Brothers, Abbott and Costello, and Mel Brooks films, so I can be pretty hard to please.   One big plus for me, however was seeing Dave Foley from the old KIDS IN THE HALL comedy sketch show as the school’s principal.  Did I mention that the school’s sports teams were the Bloodsuckers?  Eh, it wasn’t that funny.  I thought the young kids sitting a few rows behind me were funnier.  They were just giggling their asses off through the whole movie.  I was surprised that there were young kids there.  Between some of the jokes and the final words of the film (involving the F word) I’m at a loss to explain how VAMPIRE SUCKS got a PG-13 rating.  At least I only paid the matinee price—although nowadays it isn’t all that much cheaper, is it?  I’ll remember this one guys.

This is one movie you can skip.

© Copyright 2010 by Colleen Wanglund