Satire on vampires is a wickedly wacky rompBy Nestor U. Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Alicia Silverstone was a big hit in her “breakout” film, “Clueless,” in which she played a sweetly loopy lass who was so out of it that she became lovably “in.” After that initial big splash, however, her career didn’t have the “legs” for a long-running stellar career, so her fans found other faves to love.
But, all is not lost for Alicia’s remaining loyalists: Her current starrer, “Vamps,” is turning out to be a sleeper sensation, thanks to “Clueless” filmmaker Amy Heckering’s undiminished love for spoofs that don’t go poof!
So, Silverstone’s career is experiencing a second spring that could help her recover lost ground, and sneak her way back into the “B” list of stars. It may not be as great as getting into the “A” list, but it’s good enough for a dimmed luminary crawling back up from “C”!
“Vamps” is attracting some attention because it’s a trendy spoof on vampires. Yes, Silverstone, costar Krysten Ritter and many of the people in the quirky comedy play bloodseekers and bloodsuckers of all kinds, and a right rollicking crew of zanies they are, too!
Silverstone’s character has been around for centuries, but still looks young enough to interest men 200 years her junior! Still, she longs not for longevity but for love in her life, and this has proven to be elusive, because she’s had to periodically leave her lovers (every seven years or so) before they notice that, as they age, she looks as fresh and vital as she did when they first met!
Silverstone’s character’s longevity gives the antic filmmaker a great opportunity to visualize her historically varied back story, starting with the time of the Quakers onwards.
With the deft use of old film footage and the marvels of production design, she hops, skips and jumps through the decades and centuries, and viewers have a great, nostalgic time as they try to keep up with her.
Silverstone’s moment of truth comes when she meets an old lover whom she loved with extra-special ardor, and he makes her long for permanence, depth and worth as never before. She knows that, if she opts to linger with him longer, she will eventually have to age and die, but she’s so tired of “running” that she’s tempted to make that daunting choice.
For her part, Ritter’s character is chronologically much younger, so the time comes when she meets a wonderful man, and she wants to love him and bear his babies. But, how can she do that, when she’s a vampire? Well, the movie’s script most obligingly thinks up a handy way out that works for her—and Silverstone’s character, too!
Even as the movie rehabilitates Silverstone’s career, it also shines up Ritter’s much newer one. She’s a lovely comedienne who comes across a little like Anne Hathaway’s younger sister—so, what’s not to like?
But, the best thing about “Vamps” is its filmmaker’s antic ambition. She could have playfully cooked up just a silly, trendy spoof, but she makes full use of the occasion and comes up with a wide-ranging satire on all things vampiric—and, human—and the extra effort and gumption result in a wickedly wacky romp!
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