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‘Vampires Suck’ has some comic bite

Surprise! “Vampires Suck,” actually doesn’t. The parody of the first two “Twilight” movies is the usual mixed bag of hits and misses, but with more hits than expected. For those who can’t get enough of photogenic teen vampires and werewolves, consider this another helping, albeit basted in mockery. For those who were dragged to those movies, at least here the two are compressed into one 82-minute sulk-and-bite fest.

Plenty of gags fall flat, but writer-directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, due credit or blame for many recent spoofs (“Date Movie,” “Epic Movie,” etc.), have tapped the vein more effectively than their norm, with enjoyable details and on-the-mark senseless brutality. Even its slack pacing — it often feels as if it’s holding for laughs — recalls its sources. Moody teen Becca (newcomer Jenn Proske) drives into Sporks, Wash., listening to anguished emo: “Nobody gets me …" The filmmakers ape the series’ style and even skewer its protagonist’s lack of personality: Becca declares she’s “humorless,” and a jock pops up with, “Damn, girl, you seem really boring and frigid; you want to go to the prom?” Then she meets Edward Sullen (Matt Lanter), and it’s all fangs and angst.

Proske nails her Kristen Stewart mimicry down to the lower-lip bite and throws a fine forest-floor tantrum. She may be the film’s strongest suit, but its trump card is Ken Jeong in Volturi drag; the “Hangover” and “Community” star has reached the level of getting laughs just for showing up. The hair and makeup departments do yeoman’s work — “Twilight” star Robert Pattinson has quipped that most of his performance is the hair; the effectiveness of Lanter’s gloomy parody makes that seem less of a joke.

calendar@latimes.com

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