VAMPS (2012, Amy Heckerling): 3/10
I wish I could give points for likability, and support a movie I wanted to be good. But alas, aside from a sweet final 5 minutes, VAMPS is pretty terrible. Heckerling’s reunion with Alicia Silverstone makes CLUELESS look like DR. STRANGELOVE in the comedy department — it’s a tired, annoyed, limp sitcom with huge gusts of wind and crickets where the laughs should be. It’s hard to list all the places this thing goes wrong — Justin Kirk’s horrible Ukrainian accent, Malcolm McDowell looking senile, Sigourney Weaver pretending that apathy equals comedy, Wallace Shawn and Kristen Johnson randomly having a British son who can’t act, the constant lectures about cell phones and texting, etc… that latter point is so schoolmarmish that Heckerling comes off like a crotchety old woman making fun of technology with the kind of sincerity Justin Theroux was mocking in his hilarious speech in WANDERLUST.
Krysten Ritter’s coquettish charms are put to better use in APT. 23, not to mention BREAKING BAD, but here she’s stranded with dialogue that lacks any sting or freshness (ably resisting to say the dialogue in a vampire movie “lacks bite,” though that’s the kind of shitty joke that would make the cut in this movie). And the special effects and revisionist vampire ideologies are both better done on TV shows like TRUE BLOOD, not that that’s saying much. The spirit is there, but it looks like Heckerling just shot her own first draft and everyone sat around waiting for the DP to overlight the set so they could do one or two takes and then move on with their lives. The editing is so slack and empty that any comedy that might have existed is ruined with lugubrious pacing. This is the kind of movie where Justin Kirk says something mildly outrageous and they cut to Richard Lewis for a reaction/joke and he just goes, “Yeah.” I wish Heckerling had the gumption to make a film that the final moments rise to (earnest emotion, nostalgia, and lyrical sadness) but instead she delivered a processed cheese slice that wouldn’t even get picked up as an ABC midseason replacement.