It’s safe to say that the most interesting thing about Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant is the idea behind it. A new kind of vampire film that will (should) have you laughing with John C. Reilly as the lead vampire. With all the targets in place, it manages to run the other way, leaving us with a cool looking film, with a lot going on, but nothing that interesting to be entertained by.
I have more questions than statements to make about to film because it really just left me wondering what I had seen. Check out the review below….
- Director: Paul Weitz
- Writers: Paul Weitz and Brian Helgeland
- Actors: John C. Reilly, Josh Hutcherson, Chris Massoglia, Jessica Carlson, Michael Cerveris, Ray Stevenson, Salma Hayek, Ken Watanabe, Patrick Fugit (check out the press conference with Reilly, Massoglia and Hayek)
A young boy wanders over to a freak show and due to some odd obsession with spiders, gets turned into a friendly vampire who must leave his normal life and go on the road with the Cirque Du Freak. Meanwhile, his friend gets turned into an EVIL vampire and drama ensues.
- The Idea: In a world full of mean, serious vampire’s it’s fun to have some nice, campy ones. Sadly, the idea was never fully realized because the film never seemed realize what it was.
- The Bad Kid: Although I couldn’t stand half the dialogue that poor Josh Hutcherson had to spit out, he did a great job of being a villain and overall commanding his scenes. His performance may be considered “over the top,” but with a film like this, it was needed and in fact welcomed by the audience.
- Willem Dafoe: Somehow I don’t think it’s a stretch for Dafoe to play a vampire. Again, he made a clear decision and seemed to know what he was doing on set, which saved his performance. Sadly he was under-used, but for the little time he was on screen you understood his character and his intent (sadly, I just kept thinking about him being tortured in Antichrist and couldn’t stop cringing).
- John C Reilly: Does what he can with a script that does nothing for him. Sadly, this may be the film that make people stop laughing with Reilly. Perhaps it’s time to go back to a real drama or real comedy, no more of this in between crap.
- Vampires Gone Wrong: This ties in with my “good idea, not well pulled off.” They decided to do something different with vampires… they’re not violent, they’re not scary, they’re not sexy, and some of them go out in the day. What’s the fun in that? The reason why vampire’s are interesting is because of all of that. If you’re going to take that away you better have a solid story to fall back on, which was not the case for this film.
- Steve: John C Reilly’s character was never allowed to be what it was. Is he serious? Is he funny? Is he a joke to everyone else or not? What is he? Although the script was of no help, I think his character was mainly killed in post-production…
- The Editing: They didn’t allow for the right timing on any of the punch lines. It seemed like they either cut Reilly off too early or let him go too long. The idea of him being a vampire named “Steve” only really works if they allow Reilly’s comedy to come through within the drama taking place. Although he was delivering lines in a comedic way, none of the punchlines hit and left you with a smirk at best.
- The Humor: Was it sarcastic? Was in intentionally campy? I don’t know. It felt like they were intentionally trying to go over the top, but they didn’t quite go far enough. None of the jokes actually hit, making it an awkward drama at best.
- Set Up for a Series: It’s quite obvious that this film is simply a set up for what Universal is hoping will be a long series. Let’s hope not. It has none of the charm of Harry Potter, none of the Emo sex appeal of Twilight, and not enough direction or humor to make it worth another trip to the theaters.
It’s just not funny, not scary, it’s just not anything. I can see why people might go and see it because they’re thinking they might have a good time, but it’s under-whelming. It’s like a black hole of a movie where nothing really happens. You might get a chuckle or two, but really, it’s just not worth it. I would suggest waiting for it on HBO or a plane flight.
The film will be in theaters October 23, 2009