Film Scouts Reviews

"Dracula: Dead and Loving It"

by Eleanor Ringel

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Here's one to ponder: has Mel Brooks gotten too old to be as funny as he used to be or has his core audience of aging Baby Boomers gotten too old for his Borscht Belt-tinged humor? This mildly amusing spoof of Bram Stoker's famous vampire story dies after about half an hour. Leslie Nielsen makes a commanding Count in his cape and Liberace pompadour and Peter MacNicol swipes scene after scene as the cackling bug-eater, Renfield. And rest assured, Brooks' version is a lot funnier than the Coppola version and a million times better than his wretched Robin Hood spoof, "Men in Tights." But there's something missing here, something that suggests writer/director Mel Brooks is either stuck in a '70s sense of outrageousness or simply lost interest somewhere in the middle of his movie. And compared to the barrage-o'-gags style set by the "Airplane" movies, this one seems almost creaky. "Dracula" makes you worry that Mel's career may be dead and he's not loving it.

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