Who’s In It: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson
The Basics: Bella is the new girl in school. And since she’s moody, clumsy, bookish and pale, naturally every kid in school wants to be her new best friend and all the boys want to date her. Even better? The hottest guy in school, Edward, who acts like he’s better than everyone else? He wants Bella so badly he can’t stand it. Even better-est? He’s a vampire. But a total gentleman vampire so even though Bella is all, “Oh, ice-cold lover, bite my neck and make me a woman,” he won’t do it. In other words he’s the undead boyfriend you can take home to your parents.
What’s The Deal: Are you aware that vampires really love playing baseball? And that they can even go out in the sun? Not that they like the sun very much. But they can do it. They turn into human-shaped disco glitter balls when it happens, which is kind of awesome when you think about it. And what I’m trying to get at here is that this is a vampire movie that breaks all the vampire rules and is so sure of itself that it doesn’t care if vampire purists are upset by that. Its built-in fanbase (thanks to the best-selling novel) is ready to swoon. I’m not one of those swooners but even I had a great time indulging in the earnest urgency.
Why, Even If You’re Like Me And Don’t Care About Those Dang Books For One Second, You Might Still Enjoy Yourself: Because director Catherine Hardwicke is a veteran of movies about teen girls in crisis (Thirteen, The Nativity Story) and she knows not to get all condescending or adult-preachy about what the kids are going through. Her movies take that stuff all very, very, VERY seriously—so seriously, in fact, that if you aren’t laughing at it you might just find yourself swept up in the goofy R(OMG)eo & Julietishness of it all.
A Drinking Game Waiting To Happen: Robert Pattinson, as Teen Vampire Perfection Incarnate, is quite skilled at pouty-pouts, starey-stares and glarey-glares. And Kristen Stewart gives as good as she gets, her eyes boring holes through the object of her desire, lips slightly parted at all times, practically running neck-first toward this guy’s perfect white teeth.
Dear Freaked-Out Parents: It’s really all incredibly chaste in its own creepy-sex-anxiety way. The pervasive idea of vampires as virginity thieves is tweaked just enough to make even the least supernatural-content-friendly moms and dads give into their obsessed kids' squealing demands. You can’t make them be into High School Musical forever, you know.