Kristen Stewart stars in "Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 1."

Kristen Stewart stars in "Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 1." Credit: Summit Entertainment

It didn't seem possible, but the teen vampire soap-opera that has brought us so many good laughs over the years has reached new heights of comedy with "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1."

The previous three films in the franchise had a certain charm, capturing the angst of adolescence with such earnestness that they became kind of adorable, like a toddler in mid-tantrum. The new movie, though, is moving into grown-up territory, with themes of marriage, sex and childbirth. What remains is the total conviction that the ludicrous scenes are dead serious and fiercely meaningful. The result is not quite a laugh a minute, but close.

The film's plot points are well-known, partly because they're so bizarre that many wondered how new director Bill Condon ("Dreamgirls") would possibly film them. The story begins with mortal Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) tying the knot and finally becoming free to satisfy the urges they've long denied.

Even the "Twilight" fans at Wednesday night's screening chuckled when Edward literally broke the wedding bed. The laughter continued when a sickly-looking Bella gazed at her hideously mottled belly and said, "It's like this kind of miracle." Another doozy is when Bella realizes she must drink human blood to feed the baby; Edward brings it in a plastic foam to-go cup. As for Edward doing a C-section with his teeth -- how is this not supposed to be funny?

Condon handles some scenes with tenderness (Billy Burke is once again touching as Bella's dad), but surely any director knows there's something hilarious about ordering Taylor Lautner, as hunky werewolf Jacob Black, to remove his shirt within the film's opening six seconds. Either way, this first part of the saga's two-part finale promises more hilarity to come.

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