Quick! Think of the first Twilight joke that pops into your head! Was it about sparkling vampires? Maybe it was about shirtless werewolves? Either way, congratulations! You are now a professional screenwriter, on the same level as the writers of Vampires Suck, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer (the writing-directing pair who brought us Epic Movie and Disaster Movie).

Let me get the positives out of the way first -- Vampires Suck represents a small step forward for the pair: actually channeling their anti-creative energies on one specific target, the overwhelmingly popular Twilight Saga film series. Because of this, they've actually challenged themselves as filmmakers. They've moved away from the usual pop culture parade that's more costume catalog than cinema ("I'm Miley Cyrus!", "I'm Iron Man!", "I'm Britney Spears!" -- all typical dialogue from their previous films, as lookalikes parade onto the screen only to have cows or meteors or whatnot fall on their heads with a bonk, immediately after their introduction). Here, Friedberg and Seltzer are forced to write actual gags instead of lazy flash-in-the-pan referencing.

Now, however, having seen Vampires Suck, I'm not sure which is worse.

It's one thing to not be funny; it's another thing entirely to assume the reason I'm not laughing is because I didn't get it. Friedberg and Seltzer don't earn my disrespect because they can't time a joke to save their lives; they earn my disrespect by patronizing their own audience with open contempt. Look, it's obvious from frame one that this is a Twilight parody. Becca is Bella, Edward Sullen is Edward Cullen, I get it. I don't have to have characters constantly break from the action to remind me this is a Twilight parody through their own dialogue. I don't need someone to take a second to tell me why this is supposed to be funny, as it relates to Twilight. Imagine if every few seconds, someone in Blazing Saddles took a moment to tell another character that there were making fun of Westerns. Uh, duh.

Do the "filmmakers" think I stumbled blindly into this film, completely unaware of Twilight? Do they think their whole audience is that stupid? The answer is a resounding yes. If you don't get the joke, they'll stop the film dead in its tracks and all but break the fourth wall (they do that sometimes too) to explain why they inserted the gag ("You see, this Black Eyed Peas bit is funny because these vampires bear a somewhat passing resemblance to the Black Eyed Peas, which are a musical group comprised of a woman and some other folks of distinguishable and indistinguishable ethnic origin. It is to laugh.")

They get the Twilight look down, they get a pretty spot-on Kristen Stewart impersonation from Jenn Proske (the only time I laughed was when Proske would channel Stewart with eerie precision), and the directors seem to actually understand the material. This is more amazing than it sounds; if you've seen their other work. Vampires Suck is, at times, like watching a chimp learn to sign -- but they simply can't write jokes because they don't trust their own material (they shouldn't) and they don't trust their audience (they should).

I'm just about ready to declare parody as dead, unless someone can come along and save us from fad du jour junk like Vampires Suck. At the very least, we need a moratorium on Jersey Shore references and running gags about the Kardashians and, yes, even Ken Jeong. There are few things worse than watching a comedy flatline for over an hour, tossing its "funny parts" into a vacuum of uncomfortable silence. Vampires Suck is almost bad enough to make me pity the Twilight film series for being the subject of such limp, toothless mockery.


CATEGORIES Reviews, Cinematical