- 'I'M SWITZERLAND': Werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner), human Bella (Kristen Stewart) and vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson) in "Twilight: Eclipse," the funniest movie of the year.
You may know "Glorious," a play recently done by The Rep, based on the life and career of Florence Foster Jenkins, an opera singer who failed her way to infamy in early 1900s New York City. For years, the tone-deaf, tin-throated vocalist squawked her way through grandiose pieces from Verdi, Mozart, et al with an unrivaled ineptitude.
Time and time again, the harder she tried to convey the heights of operatic emotion through song, the worse she sounded and the dumber she looked. But the singer eventually found droves of people coming to her recitals to hear her yelp and screech through arias with the best of intentions and the worst of voices. People loved her; in fact, the lovably inept Florence sold out Carnegie Hall months before her death.
Such is the spiritual forebear of "Twilight: Eclipse," the third installment of the teeny-bop sensation that, thanks to its ham-fisted incompetence in every way, provided the most fun I've had in a theater all year.
Does it even matter what it's about? Nope. Good psychic kung-fu vampires with bad bleach jobs fight bad people-eater vampires in hooded robes and everyone fights teen-age werewolves who walk around shirtless in cut-off jean shorts. And it's all treated with Shakespearean gravitas. Somewhere along the way, we're still supposed to care about vampire Edward and human Bella. In spite of being the center of the series — one of the most profitable movie couples in decades — they're completely devoid of anything resembling charm, charisma or affection. It's grandiose dreck, mining dumb-ass teenage hormones and ennui to varying levels of failure, making any old Harlequin paperback's two-dimensional understanding of the complexities of love look like "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" by comparison.
Now, I know these movies aren't made for my demographic. Or my gender. They're certainly not made for the critics, either, but I can't recommend this hunk of nonsensical glop enough. For a movie so painstakingly humorless, it provided the hardest laughs of the summer not only for me, but the majority of the theater along for the ride. The two hours are so authoritatively shitty that, in my case, it provided for one of those great movie experiences where a room of strangers join together to turn a theater into a junior high study hall with one person's snickering growing into room-wide belly laughs when the movie's "OMG" moments belly flop into "WTF, LOL" reactions. Take, for instance, a scene in which Edward and werewolf Jacob, who's vying for Bella's affections, get into a hot-headed argument. Bella steps back, throws her hands in the air and delivers this nugget: "That's it! From now on, I'm Switzerland." It's the apex of the movie's sublime awfulness and a far cry from "With God as my witness, I'll never be hungry again." "Eclipse" did, however, deliver in spades during the movie's two epic, climactic vampire/werewolf fight scenes which were full of enough dog-on-man action to appease the most disinterested of guys dragged along to the movie.
Having grossed over $175 million in the six days as of press time, "Eclipse" is well on its way to being the most successful bad movie ever. My suggestion? Pump up that number. Get a group of friends, a few drinks and a few tickets to a late night show when the Twi-hards will be past curfew and brace yourself for what should be an accidental great time at the movies.
— John Tarpley