Movie Review by Samuel Taradash
Starring: James Corden, Mathew Horne, Paul McGann, MyAnna Buring
Director: Phil Claydon
Even for a movie aimed at 15 year-olds, this is pretty thin. Jimmy (Mathew Horne) is a spineless wimp who’s been dumped by his bitchy girlfriend for the seventh time; Fletch (James Corden) is his amiable buddy, a children’s clown fired for punching yet another child. In an attempt to turn their fortunes around, the two losers hike to a little English village, also miraculously visited by a van full of sexy foreign girls. Unfortunately, the village also happens to be home to a gang of lesbian vampires. There’s some nonsense about a curse and a prophecy, but it doesn’t really matter. Like the character of Fletch, the intended audience for this film is probably more interested in seeing a naked woman, the messily dispatch of vampires and having a laugh along the way. But there’s not much in the way of comedy. And there’s no nudity (for under-18 ticket sales). So it’s just the mess. Notice: “mess”, not gore. Again, teen film, so only incidental blood. Which says everything you need to know: a vampire film with no blood.
Theoretically there could have been some clever subversions of genre, gender and power politics here. There could have been some good, sexy humour. Even have been some double entendres or jokes about wood and stakes or something would have been nice. But it’s not funny and not scary. The only startling thing is how bland the sexy shots are and how backwards the understanding of sexuality is. Lesbianism here is nothing more than another insult to the heroes: vampires wanting to kill may be terrible, but the fact that they’re also sexually unavailable is just insult on top of injury. The threat of vampiric lesbianism somehow coming to dominate the world manages to be stupid, underwhelming and insulting at the same time.
So much more could have been done with almost every last element of the movie. Characters get tics instead of personality, and even those aren’t always consistent. Except for Fletch, the comedy relief, the cast plays little more than cardboard cut-outs. Only Jimmy even gets a last name, but that’s just for the sake of an ancestral prophecy. Female lead MyAnna Buring vacillates between innocent Swedish maiden and butt-kicking student of folklore and mythology. And Paul McGann’s comedic potential is entirely misspent as the vicar battling to save his town and his beautiful daughter from the lesbian vampire curse. Corden gamely carries on in spite of the uninspired material, cracking wise with excellent timing and sharp delivery.
Fletch and Jimmy’s motivation won’t matter to the 14 year olds who won’t empathize with young-adult loser-dom. The violence won’t even get a rise out of a generation raised on Grand Theft Auto. And the suggested sexiness won’t satisfy kids who’ve seen more in Sports Illustrated. A disappointing film that tries for sexy action comedy, but only manages a little tease before slinking away, limp jokes in hand.