My Sucky Teen Romance (Emily Hagins, 2011)
Despite only giving Emily Hagins’ first feature, Pathogen, three stars (but let’s remember, three is still “above average” on a five-star scale), I unhesitatingly recommended it in my review because, well, it’s a zombie movie that was made by a twelve-year-old and, aside from having basically no budget and some problems with acting ability, was a clever, fun take on the genre. Hagins returned five years later with her third feature, My Sucky Teen Romance, a teen vampire comedy whose purpose is to make fun of teen vampire comedies. And my favorite thing about it is that in every way, it’s obvious Emily Hagins took Pathogen as a learning experience. My Sucky Teen Romance is a much better movie technically, with much more solid acting and a clever script (written by Hagins). In short: if you like your teen comedies with more romance than raunch, My Sucky Teen Romance is for you.
Plot: Kate (the gorgeous Elaine Hurt in her screen debut) is a shy teen with a hefty crush on comic-book-store employee Paul (Belleflower‘s Patrick Delgado). Kate convinces her best friend, society girl Allison (The Retelling‘s Lauren Lee), to go to a comic convention with her and a couple of nerdy friends, intending to run into Paul. What she doesn’t know is that a few days beforehand, Paul was bitten by a vampire (Supernatural Activity‘s Devin Bonnée) and is in the process of changing. She also doesn’t know that he feels the same way about her, but when the two of them are about to confess their feelings for one another, they’re jostled in a hallway, and Paul’s new fangs get jammed into Kate’s neck. Which is all well and good, except that (a) they don’t want to be vampires and (b) Kate’s friends are all about staking the two of them before they turn for good. They must frantically try to hunt down the vampire that bit Paul before the process is irreversible.
I’m not going to try and convince you that there’s any boundary-pushing to be done here or anything like that. This is a genre movie that revels in its genre movie-ness. This is not necessarily a bad thing; after all, a genre movie that delivers on the promises of the genre is a success on most levels you could care to mention. You could probably make the argument that I’m cutting Hagins some slack, and I wouldn’t argue with you, but in all fairness, I’ve probably given more positive reviews to comedies in the past year than I did in the decade before that. Maybe I’m just getting softer in my old age, but I had a very good time with this one. *** ½