A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Vamps is a paranormal comedy about twentysomething vampire BFFs who must navigate the challenges of being young decade after decade. Gen X parents will be drawn to director Amy Heckerling's reunion with her Clueless star Alicia Silverstone, but teens into the whole vampire genre might be interested, too. Expect occasional strong language (one "f--k," plus "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," etc.) and several kissing scenes -- one that leads to a love scene and a pregnancy. The violence is mostly comical, but there are a couple of decapitations and some cringe-inducing scenes of the vamps drinking rats' and pigeons' blood. Adults drink at clubs, and one guy does cocaine (off camera) on a date.
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What's the story?
Goody (Alicia Silverstone) is a vampire who was turned in the 19th century by Cisserus (Sigourney Weaver), a "maker" who also transformed Stacy (Krysten Ritter) in 1992. After two decades together, Goody and Stacy -- who only consume animal blood -- live in Manhattan, where they work and go out all night and sleep all day. Things change when Stacy meets Joey Van Helsing (Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey) and sparks fly, despite his father's (Wallace Shawn) status as a vampire hunter. Goody also bumps into her '60s love, former activist Danny (Richard Lewis). Soon Goody and Stacy end up wondering whether they'd be better off ridding themselves of their maker and becoming their "true age."
Is it any good?
Anyone who loved the immensely quotable, zeitgeist-capturing 1995 comedy Clueless will be excited to see Silverstone and director Amy Heckerling reteam. But the allure of the reunion wanes when it's obvious that while VAMPS might be cute and offer the occasional laugh, it's also amateurish and forgettable.
Despite the finely assembled cast, there's just not much to this comedy besides being a vehicle for nostalgia and reminding viewers how aging can be a bitter process. Heckerling does amusingly poke fun at the way everyone is so techno-dependent now (a lounge singer even checks her smartphone during her performance), but everything from the story to the special effects are thin and silly.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the popularity of vampire tales. How is Vamps different than others? Will it appeal to teens?
What does Goody observe about the differences between current times and years gone by? Why is she so critical about the ubiquity of phones, gadgets, and social media? Do you agree?
- In theaters: November 2, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: November 13, 2012
- Cast: Alicia Silverstone, Krysten Ritter, Sigourney Weaver
- Director: Amy Heckerling
- Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: violent images, some drug material, sexual content and language
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