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Further proof why Jason Friedberg and Andy Seltzer should stop making movies
Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer are the single worst filmmakers currently working in the realm of mainstream cinema. This pair of writers/directors is responsible for single-handedly destroying the parody genre. I consider their third film, Meet the Spartans, to be the single worst movie of the last decade one which gave us a dozen well known and lesser known treasures by Uwe Boll. But where Boll shows ambition and dare I say, "style", Friedberg and Seltzer exhibit laziness and a lack of purpose. These two hacks throw in dated pop culture references and steal the work of others, and seem to get away with calling it comedy.
It is funny to note then that their first movie in two years, Vampires Suck, is a parody riffing on the Twilight series. The duo gleefully crib from Twilight and New Moon, providing us with the tale of new girl Becca (Jenn Proske) who falls in love with the vampire Edward (Matt Lanter), and all the problems that come with their newfound romance.
My immediate question, before even beginning to try and discuss this waste of time, is why did Friedberg and Seltzer ever think it was a good idea to make a parody of the Twilight series? The films are unintentionally hilarious as it is. And True Blood has been on for three seasons now, and for all intents and purposes, it is merely a darkly satirical and much more adult version of Twilight. So right off the bat, these two brilliant minds are mining at something that has already been done. I guess it was money, but who would knowingly believe Twilight fans would rush out to see a movie bashing their beloved franchise much less the haters who would not be caught dead seeing the film as it is?
It just seems overly baffling to me, what could possibly have made anyone think this film is a good idea. It recycles the unintentional jokes from the series, and packages them in a way that either rips them off lightly or just come off as not being anywhere near as funny as they were before. I chuckled at a few parts here and there, but they were only mild chuckles. There is nothing inherently funny or stands out as being hilarious at any given point in the film. Perhaps Friedberg and Seltzer are laughing but no one else is laughing with them. I had the good fortune of not having to see this movie in a theatre, but I can imagine the film's showings are silent enough that the filmgoers can hear the projector whirling more than they can hear anyone laughing.
I will give credit however in the fact that unlike their previous atrocities and crimes against cinema-goers all over the world, Vampires Suck does not deviate from its riffing of the Twilight. Characters still make dated pop culture references (is anyone in five years even going to remember The Kardashians? I barely know who they are now), but no one from other films is just thrown into the film at random. The film never stops to suddenly jump into making fun of another film or franchise (outside of a total throwaway blink-and-you-will-miss-it gag involving Alice from Alice in Wonderland). It stays consistent throughout, and to me, suggests a minor development of maturity on the parts of the filmmakers. Or of course, they realized there was nowhere they could possibly throw someone like Justin Bieber or Cobb from Inception, and not confuse the audience even more than they like already are.
But this consistency comes with a price. Instead of whipping by, the film runs at an incredibly slow pace. I fell asleep twice, and somehow barely missed anything. They do a fairly nifty job of condensing the first two films, but it seems like they did not do nearly enough editing and whittling down. The film easily could have felt a lot faster paced, but it stalls a bit too much in almost every scene. And for a film that runs less than eighty minutes, it speaks a lot for what these two filmmakers were trying to accomplish or even what they wanted to show. If they cannot answer that simple question to the filmgoing public, then what is the point of even making movies in the first place?
You will need to sift through the increasing amount of junk and waste in Vampires Suck, but Proske is actually fairly good in her role (her acting debut, sadly). She has the Kristen Stewart impression and mannerisms down perfectly, and she almost came off as a better Bella than Stewart ever has. She also has a commanding aura about her, which suggests she is in store for much greater work in the future. As long as she runs away from everyone involved here, I am sure she can prove this soon enough. Unlike her, no one else even remotely stands out or is even half decent in the cast (Ken Jeong and Diedrich Bader go to complete waste in supporting roles). They all just go through the motions, and are just as lazy and half-assed as everyone else. But then, why should they bother if the filmmakers do not even try?
Despite being a lot more balanced than any of their brethren, Vampires Suck is still an awful and truly unfunny film that only further proves the point that Friedberg and Seltzer need to stop making movies. Even with a great lead, they still manage to botch the making of this film and still suffer from many of the problems their earlier films were plagued by. Years from now, will anyone even remember these films? Better yet, will anyone want to remember these films?
(This review also appeared on http://www.geekspeakmagazine.com).
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