Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dracula: Dead And Loving It - 3.5/5

With how good "Robin Hood: Men In Tights" was at spoofing the entire use of that character through film history, when Mel Brooks decided to tackle the ever undead Dracula it should have been an easy A for everyone. Although it has a great time spoofing the long running character in the film, its not quite as clever at it as the Robin Hood parody and seems to drag at a couple moments rather than the laugh a minute sprinting we are used to getting from Brooks. "Dracula: Dead And Loving It" is a spirited film that simply nails some of its aspects, but dwindles at others giving us a rather good but mediocre film.

Dracula (Nielsen) has decided the dreary nature of his home castle is getting tired. Thusly he has decided to move to England! With the help of a realty agent Renfield (MacNicol) under his spell, he takes his undead act overseas. Now he finds himself under suspicion from his neighbors at the mental ward and they have brought in the open minded and brilliant Van Helsing (Brooks) to take care of their suddenly blood deprived women. Now Dracula has to play it safe or he's going to find himself staked!

Although the potential for rocking this spoof out of the ball park was immense, its hard not to be somewhat disappointed with it. With a character as significant and widely known as Dracula (thusly as spoof-able as possible), sometimes it feels as though they could have done more. There are scenes that are funny but seemingly not quite as funny as they COULD have been. Like Renfield's dinner with the head of the asylum. Or the mind zapped bellhop. Funny as is, but the potential seems so much greater for those scenes.

As is, "Dead And Loving It" is still fucking hilarious. With a perfectly cast group in their respective roles its hard not to be. Nielsen perfectly balances his seriously goofy side and plays it off as if nothing is an inside joke (the hair hat never ceases to be funny) and a particular nod has to go to MacNicol for an essentially perfect revival of Renfield. He's absolutely hilarious on screen and his timing is perfect. From his spider web entanglement to his his hunched over delirium to protect his master, he nails the role and makes this movie. Just thinking about him rolling over the sliding coffin on the ship makes me laugh out loud sitting here.

Despite stellar performances all around and a generally solid script debunking our love of Dracula, this Brooks film seemingly does fall short when it comes to great memorable moments. The dancing sequences are odd and the shadow gag worked a few times but seemed stretched thin. It's another solid film from one of my favorite comedians, but not quite one of his best. Mostly for fans of Dracula or of Brooks.

BONUS PRAISE: Jonathon (Weber) having to stake Lucy with Van Helsing (Brooks) does make up for a lot of the films flaws. That one scene is so damn funny and outrageous that it can keep the film afloat even if the rest was done seriously. Its essentially a perfect comedic bit in my opinion. 

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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