'Suck' takes a new angle on vampires

Nov. 22, 2010

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

A mainstream comedy and a new vampire musical are featured in this week's DVD review column.

Grownups

I have to admit, I've never been a big fan of Adam Sandler's comic persona. Although many comics have used variations of the "man-boy" character from Harry Langdon to Jerry Lewis to PeeWee Herman Sandler has coupled arrested development with a sort of aggressive behavior that just didn't appeal to me much.

I have to give him credit, though, that with growing older he has wisely sought to develop a different kind of comedy that was more age appropriate.

"Grownups" gives Sandler the comic vehicle to not only position himself as a somewhat flawed adult, but also a goofy kid.

Sandler plays a successful Hollywood agent married to a beautiful fashion designer and the father to three children, two of whom are spoiled brats.

When he learns the coach of his junior high school basketball team has died a team comprised of his closest friends he and his family travel to "New England" for the funeral.

By the way, the filmmakers can't decide if the film is set in Connecticut or Massachusetts, as Sandler wears a UConn hat in some scenes and a UMass shirt in others.

He is able to reunite with his friends and teammates: an aging would-be bad boy (David Spade); a henpecked househusband (Chris Rock); a overweight klutz eager to keep up appearances of prosperity (Kevin James); and a New Age massage therapist married to a much, much older woman (Rob Schneider).

Their reunion extends to a weekend at a nearby lodge on a lake and there the various adults work through a host of problems and experience various epiphanies in a story line that marries a bit of soap opera with slapstick.

Dennis Dugan is Sandler's preferred director and he keeps things moving in a workman-like fashion.

Is the film funny? I laughed quite a few times and it's a generally good comic ensemble. I think Spade and Schneider stole the show and Sandler seemed at ease in a largely straight man role.

For a dollar rental from the Redbox, you won't feel cheated.

Suck

As I've written here before, there has been a rash of vampire movies thanks largely to productions such as the "Twilight" books and movies and the "True Blood" television series. I readily admit I had little hope for "Suck," which billed itself as a horror comedy with rock and roll.

I was pleasantly surprised that "Suck" didn't suck. Instead I found it to be a pretty inventive little film that poked fun at conventions of both rock and roll and the recent revisions of the vampire myth.

The writer, director and star of the film, Rob Stefaniuk, plays Joey, the leader of a rock band which, after ten years of touring and recording, are still sleeping in their car, an old hearse.

Things suddenly change when the band's bassist and Joey's ex-girlfriend spend the night with a guy she meets at a gig, who is a vampire and turns her into one. Now she mesmerizes audiences and Joey and his band mates have to make a decision: do they become vampires as well in order to achieve rock and roll popularity.

Making their decision a bit more difficult is Eddie Van Helsing, a vampire hunter, played by Malcolm McDowell with his normal scene-stealing intensity.

Stefaniuk not only does well in the lead role, he clearly has style in back of the camera. He assembled a pretty cool cast with a real rock and roll pedigree: Alice Cooper, Moby, Iggy Pop and Henry Rollins and the film's music is good.

Both horror and rock and roll fans should add "Suck" to their viewing list.






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