Directed by Amy Heckerling
Tapping into the same fun and infectious energy that helped make Clueless such a hit in the '90s for the pair, Vamps reunites director Amy Heckerling with Clueless leading lady and object of many teenage infatuations, Alicia Silverstone. The result is an antidote to all of the bloated, self-serious entries in the vampire genre on both television and the big screen, providing a refreshing take on the life of the undead. Sweet, silly and easily digestible, Vamps manages to introduce an enjoyably loopy world while still investing the audience in a central friendship with legitimate heart. Silverstone is Goody, an eternal creature who has been around for ages, yet retains her relatively fresh looks. She hides her age from best friend Stacy (Krysten Ritter), a comparative neophyte when it comes to being a vampire. The two sleep in coffins and work in pest control, which comes in handy because, rather than indulging in human blood, the two survive off dead rats, sometimes using straws to obtain their sustenance. When not being summoned by their "stem," Cisserus (Sigourney Weaver) — a term used to describe one that transforms a human into a vampire — they're chasing after boys. Stacy strikes up a relationship with the attractive Joey (Dan Stevens) at school, whose father unfortunately happens to be Dr. Van Helsing (the incomparable Wallace Shawn, another Clueless alum). It's genuinely surprising and dispiriting to find a comedy this unique and assured relegated to opening in theatres on just a single screen. The combo of Silverstone and Ritter supply a wealth of chemistry, with witty banter and an abundance of one-liners, reminding of the strength of Heckerling's comedic dialogue in her earlier work (she also wrote the first Look Who's Talking). The tone is aided by the casting of a few comedians in smaller roles, with Todd Barry appearing as a fellow bloodsucker and Richard Lewis lending support as a former Goody love interest; it's a relationship that's able to sidestep cliché. Disappointingly, there are no significant extras, an omission that's especially conspicuous given the egregiously limited release. If there ever was a situation that called for more insight into what happened and perhaps a requisite amount of venting at how a studio mishandled a potential hit, this is it.
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