Vampire, werewolf, boring girl, oh my!

I saw two movies this weekend, Hot Tub Time Machine on the big screen, and New Moon (part of The Twilight Saga) on the small screen.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking– Scullin’s Mensa meeting must have been cancelled and he needed some intellectually-stimulating entertainment. Well, joke’s on you– I’m not even in Mensa!

Let start with New Moon. This is part two in the tale of Bella (Kristin Stewart), a high school senior who is gaga for a 109-year old vampire, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson– he’s so dreamy, and he carries 109 very well!). Edward moves away so he won’t be tempted to suck Bella’s blood and make her one of the undead– but Bella is also kind of into hunky, pumped-up Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) who becomes a werewolf and well, werewolves don’t like ‘bloodsuckers’ but see, they have a peace pact of sorts and… screw it. This movie is two hours and ten minutes of feeling like the undead.

It’s slow, it’s plodding, it’s a test of patience and perseverance. The character of Bella may be the single most uninteresting character ever brought to the silver screen. She is forlorn, she is pouty, she is withdrawn, she is longing, she is in the forbidden love zone. Bella is barely a one-dimensional character, and Kristin Stewart musters all her acting abilities to deliver this yawn of a human. Why would anyone, alive or undead, be attracted to someone this boring? Beats me.

Then again, I’m sure the fans of the book loved this film and love the characters. Hey, we all have to face choices like vampires or werewolves, and this movie plays out our dilemma. I just wish the characters had some life in them. Now let’s talk about something worth seeing.

Come on in, the water's fine. Suit optional.

Hot Tub Time Machine may not be one of the great comedies of all time, but it’s better than most of what passes for comedy these days. This is a film that has an inventive plot and a superb cast (although I could have done without Chevy Chase). Yes, it could have more production values, but this wasn’t a big budget affair. It’s just a good old fashioned raunchy comedic romp (note: don’t bring the kiddies unless they’re fans of f-bombs and plenty of compromising adult situations).

It’s a smart film with plenty of laughs and moves at a nice clip. The faces on screen are fresh: Rob Corddry (ex-Daily Show with Jon Stewart funnyman), Craig Robinson (from The Office) Clark Duke (you’ve seen him, you just don’t know where) and John Cusack, (who co-produced and always delivers on screen). The story by Josh Heald, screenplay by Josh Heald, Sean Anders & John Morris, is consistently engaging, entertaining and fun. Come re-live a lot of the awfulness that was the 80’s with a band of characters who are very alive, with nary a werewolf or vampire in sight.

Bottom line: Hot Tub Time Machine is worth immersion, New Moon could put an insomniac down for the count.