Brothers Paul and Chris Weitz directed About A Boy and American Pietogether. While Chris is off directing the latest installment of the Twilightfranchise, Paul decided to kick off a vampire series of his own – perhaps what you might call the male antithesis of the girly Twilight series – Cirque Du Freak. The first of the book series is can now be seen adapted on the big screen, The Vampire’s Assistant.
The Vampire’s Assistant is about two best friends, Darren (Chris Massoglia) and Steve (Josh Hutcherson, Journey To The Center Of The Earth), who go to an underground freak show in their quiet hometown. Once there, Steve recognizes one of the freaks (John C. Reilly, Step Brothers) from drawings in a book as Crepsley, a 200-year-old vampire.
After Steve is bitten, hospitalized and dying from a magical venomous spider, Darren seeks the help of Crepsley to heal his best friend. Crepsley agrees to do so on one condition – that Darren gives up his human life to become Crepsley’s half-vampire assistant. With Steve’s wellbeing in mind, Darren agrees, fakes his death and moves in with the freak show. It’s not long that dark powers turn everything around and wreak havoc.
Cirque Du Freak is the type of movie that I would’ve loved if I were a young boy. It’s a fun teenage guy movie in the vein of the ’80s flicks Monster Squadand Explorers – one that you would love at that age, but later see that it’s not nearly as great as you thought it was when you were young. For that reason, I’m able to watch movies like The Vampire’s Assistant and find the enjoyment in them.
If there’s anything in The Vampire’s Assistantthat’s going to please adults, it will be the secondary and side characters. Just as he has been in his recent comedies, Reilly is hilarious – not only because of his deliverance of funny lines or his bad hair, but because you get to see him as an action star. Playing Crepsley’s mostly beautiful freak girlfriend is Salma Hayek (Desperado) – the bearded woman. Willem Dafoe (Boondock Saints) plays Crepsley’s fellow vampire-in-hiding. Patrick Fugit (Almost Famous) plays Darren’s snake-boy roommate. Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai) plays Mr. Tall, the owner of Cirque Du Freak. Orlando Jones (Evolution), Jane Krakowski (30 Rock) and Kristen Schaal (Flight Of The Conchords) play characters in the freak show.
Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant is not a great movie – but it is fun. And the younger you are – even at heart – the more you’ll enjoy it.
Photo credit: Universal Studios