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Review: Predictable 'Vamp' still has some bite

Amy Heckerling's vampire tale starring Alicia Silverstone and Krysten Ritter redeems itself at the end.

November 01, 2012|By Mark Olsen
  • Kristen Ritter and Alicia Silverstone in "Vamps."
Kristen Ritter and Alicia Silverstone in "Vamps." (Handout )

Having made two of the most insightful, affectionate films about teenagers with "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and "Clueless," Amy Heckerling jumps on the most recent youth bandwagon with "Vamps."

Written and directed by Heckerling, "Vamps" isn't quite the low-hanging logline of "Clueless" meets "Twilight" though in some respects it is about the twilight of cluelessness — or how age and maturity do not necessarily equal the onset of fogey-dom, but rather offer a sense of greater understanding and seeing beyond oneself.

Goody ("Clueless" star Alicia Silverstone) and Stacy (Krysten Ritter) are club-hopping party girls and also vampires, with the film's internal mythology explaining the disparity in their ages, why they don't feed on humans, and relationship to a third vampire Cisserus (Sigourney Weaver).

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Both Goody and Stacy become romantically involved with partners who cast uncertainty over their futures.

Heckerling has long seemed off her game, and for the most part, "Vamps" is indeed the groan-inducing, half-baked thing one would expect. Yet, in its final moments, the film pulls off a rather unexpected turnaround, mining an emotionally rich vein.

Make no mistake, "Vamps" is mostly a misfire, but Heckerling still shows enough flashes of wit and wisdom that she remains hard to entirely dismiss. Don't bury that coffin just yet.

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"Vamps." MPAA rating: PG-13 for violent images, some drug material, sexual content and language. Running time: 1 hour, 33 minutes. At the AMC Burbank 16, Burbank.

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