Review by Cole Groth
It’s a shame that modern Hollywood has failed the vampire. The Twilight series has made the undead bloodsuckers a laughingstock of a character archetype, and garbage, like Don’t Suck, continues to keep them as a joke — and in the case of this horror-comedy, a very bad one. RJ Collins badly directs a messy film that winds up with almost no laughs throughout its 100-minute runtime.
Pete (Jamie Kennedy) is a schlocky comedian who’s uncomfortable in his position telling unfunny jokes to small crowds as a road comic. After witnessing a vampire (Matt Rife) who manages to almost impressively bomb at one of his gigs, the two take a road trip that’ll leave both of their lives changed forever. Their trek across the country through dirty comedy clubs takes Pete on a journey of self-discovery as he tries to become a “comic’s comic": someone other comedians try to look up to.
For a movie about comedy, it’s a shame that this isn’t funny. There are a few jokes that strike, but for every ten jokes, nine of them are either mean, stupid, or horribly delivered. Few make sense, and almost all of them fall flat. Writer Rick D’Elia’s script is simply horrible from a comic level, but the vampire stuff is admittedly pretty interesting. There’s enough potential here to where the end result feels almost insulting and like a true missed opportunity. It’s bad enough that the movie sucks, but for it to introduce an interesting idea and ignore it is one of its biggest sins.
Jamie Kennedy is a horrible leading man. He’s this horrifically unfunny, misogynistic, and creepy man whose presence on screen is a constant eyesore. For some odd reason, his character has this hot trophy girlfriend who seems to serve as the writer’s insert for whom he wishes he could date. In any case, it’s also a bizarre choice. His counterpart, the vampiric Matt Rife, has a much better appearance on screen. He’s a lot more subtle and does a decent job of being this broody vampire with a knack for bombing at stand-up comedy.
The biggest problem with this type of movie is that it falls too heavily into mean-spirited humor. It’s the type of movie that tries too hard to be offensive in an attempt to be “canceled” for internet hype. It meanders through a boring plot and several unlikable characters to a conclusion that feels confusing and emotionally unearned.
Ultimately, Don’t Suck… sucks. The funniest part of the movie probably comes from the title. If you’re a huge Matt Rife lover, I’ve heard that his type of comedy might fall in line with this film, so it could be appealing to you. To those who like well-written and subtle humor told by not directly hatable characters, this one is the easiest skip of the year.
Don’t Suck releases in theaters and on demand December 1.