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Review: 'Vampires Suck' aims stake at heart of 'Twilight' fans

The crude title is about as subtle as the jokes get in Vampires Suck, another scattershot pop culture spoof from hack jesters Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. But this time they chose a subject worth ridiculing.

Vampires Suck drains every ounce of pretension from Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga and the ensuing movie franchise, even tossing in a spoiler for the Breaking Dawn flick that won't be released until 2011. The only surprise is that Meyer didn't receive a co-writing credit for setting up the punch lines.

After a lucrative career of bashing well-made scary, epic, disaster and date movies, Friedberg and Seltzer have a source begging to be mocked. Twihards can be expected to get their Team Jacob/Edward panties in a bunch.

The script practically writes itself, combining Meyer's purple prose and supernatural teen angst with cheap shots people mumble under their breaths, getting drowned out by the squeals. Vampires Suck could have been dreamed up by frat boys too drunk to change the channel on a Twilight movie telecast.

Yet, like every other Friedberg-Seltzer creation, the jokes run dry long before the fadeout, and the movie is only 80 minutes counting end credits. Desperation is obvious when Ken Jeong (The Hangover) does his tiresome crazy Asian routine again. I don't recommend paying to see Vampires Suck, but casual cable TV viewing might not be bad.

Vampires Suck bludgeons most of the right Twilight notes: the slow motion stares conveying mutual attraction, the sparkly skin of a nude vampire in sunlight (with a strategically placed mirror ball), a fan conveniently placed for emotive hair-blowing, and too many homoerotic references regarding Jacob's wolf pack to list.

Each gag is too obvious to be considered inspired mockery, but anyone fed up with Twilight mania will smirk, at least. Some jokes are just foolproof silly. It helps that Friedberg and Seltzer stick with one pop culture target this time, unlike earlier spoofs so thinly spread among multiple movies that the humor can't accumulate as good comedy should.

One thing the movie roasts to perfection is Kristen Stewart's overly pensive Bella, the gloomy girl torn between a hot vampire and a hunky werewolf. A newcomer named Jenn Proske has the mumbling, hair-twisting, lip-biting tics down pat, and her expressions of repressed sexuality are almost as funny as Stewart's. Friedberg and Seltzer gave an unknown named Anna Faris her breakout role with the Scary Movie series. Proske may do the same.

Steve Persall can be reached at persall@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8365. Read his blog, Reeling in the Years, at tampabay.com/blogs/movies.

. Fast facts

'Vampires Suck'

Grade: C-

Directors: Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer

Cast: Jenn Proske, Matt Lanter, Chris Riggi, Diedrich Bader, Ken Jeong, Crista Flanagan, Kelsey Ford, Arielle Kebbel

Screenplay: Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer

Rating: PG-13; crude sexual humor, comical violence, profanity

Running time: 80 min.

Review: 'Vampires Suck' aims stake at heart of 'Twilight' fans 08/18/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 18, 2010 10:35pm]

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