So, suffice it to say I was super excited to crowd into the enormous Paramount theater for the premiere of the film. Excited enough to know I was likely missing a screening of Hobo With a Shotgun in order to attend (I'm assuming in this case, given the title Hobo With a Shotgun I don't need to explain my interest in the film).
Overall I enjoyed the film which has a bright pop look to it, some amusing dialog and earnest, likable (albeit not super slick) performances populating it. It's not a parody of vampire films, at least not a full on one. Instead it feels more like a tragic romantic comedy that does get some of its laughs at the expense of Twilight and a trial and error process of figuring out which vampire lore applies in the kid's particular situation. With many a nod towards the fact that it's hard out there for the teens...
The script itself isn't overly complex. A group of friends are attending SpaceCon, their local comic and genre festival. It's their last con before leaving for college - though refreshingly none of them seems determined to lose their virginity (or copulate with a pie). The two main female characters are interested in meeting some cute boys, though there's a sense both may be destined for disappointment in that area. Luckily, for the Kate (Elaine Hurt) the fellow she fancies from the local market, Paul (Patrick Delgado) is at SpaceCon as well. Less luckily he's been turned into a vampire by Edward lookalike Vince (Devin Bonnée) during a botched robbery. Paul's looking for a way out - though while spending time with Kate it's starts to look as though he's spread the contagion to her in a moment of weakness. Or perhaps more accurately in a moment of klutziness brought on by one of the true villains of the story - men of a certain age hanging around comic conventions (a recurring joke I am trying not to take personally). This sets up the main drama in the film - how can one un-become a vampire - a mission Kate and her friends approach aggressively with the help of their film based knowledge and some experts in the field that just happen to be attending the con.
I was interested, though not deeply invested in the movie's outcome. I liked the look of the film - though it's certainly not going to be mistaken for a Hollywood blockbuster. Given the subject matter I think it worked relatively well. Ms. Hagins certainly has talent and I'll certainly catch her future projects. A fairly brisk watch (I think it's just shy of 80 minutes) I'd say it's a nice stop along the way of what I'm sure will continue to be an improving career. Just to put it into perspective on the wunderkind spectrum My Sucky Teen Romance is nowhere near the visual artistry brought to bear by Xavier Dolan in Heartbeats (or I Killed My Mother - when he was pretty much the same age). In his case those films would have been impressive at any age. It's not an entirely fair comparison, but one that I was thinking about this weekend after seeing Heartbeats (which should absolutely be on your "to see" list).
Oh, almost forgot - I was particularly struck positively by Elaine Hurt who plays Kate. I thought she brought a great presence to the role that contributed a great deal to my enjoyment of the film.
If you're a mass consumer of vampire pop-culture I'd say My Sucky Teen Romance is definitely worth your time. Certainly more than some other recent efforts (yes, I'm looking at you Vampires Suck and and I Kissed a Vampire). For everyone else I think the urge to catch it may be somewhat less urgent.
|The marquee of the Paramount was of course lit-up for the occasion|
|Emily Hagins introducing her film before a packed house|