Thursday, October 01, 2009
Zombies 'R Us: Zombieland (movie review)
Vampires are all the rage at the moment, and maybe it's appropriate, as the wrecked economy has sucked the life out of so many folks' job prospects and retirement savings.
But I still have a thing for zombie movies, and I'm happy to report that the new Zombieland is kinda' fun, kinda' funny. Click here to read my review, as published in Las Vegas City Life. Or read the text below.
Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone. Directed by Ruben Fleischer.
When it comes to zombie comedies, a subgenre probably made possible by the comic elements of George Romero's series of wink-wink horror gore fests, the riotous Shaun of the Dead remains atop the bloody heap.
Second-place honors, though, go to Zombieland, a funny and fast-moving tale of the unlikely friendship between Jesse Eisenberg's wimpy but bright nerd and Woody Harrelson's swaggering but dim macho man.
Romero, in Dawn of the Dead, had his shopping mall, the better to suggest parallels between mindless consumers and the undead; in Zombieland, the showdown between the new pals and the zombies takes place in an amusement park, sans significant metaphor making.
Columbus (Eisenberg, Adventureland, The Squid and the Whale), so nicknamed because of his Ohio hometown, may be scared of everything from clowns to social contact. But the guy has developed sharp zombie-survival strategies, which he's codified into a series of rules -- from shooting the undead twice to make sure they're not still alive, to remembering to wear his seatbelt and keeping in shape, the better to outrun the bloodthirsty hordes. Tallahassee (Harrelson, recently in the disappointing Seven Pounds and Semi-Pro), in contrast, relishes every opportunity to meet, and beat, zombies, and is on a sort of quest to track down the last, best surviving Twinkies.
The two become a quartet after twice meeting cute with a pair of savvy sisters, the slick, sexy Wichita (Emma Stone, The House Bunny, Superbad) and pre-teen Little Rock (Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine, Nim's Island). The four head west to visit that California amusement park. But not before spending a night in a movie star's apparently abandoned mansion, a plot turn leading to a broadly entertaining surprise cameo.
Short and nominally sweet, Ruben Fleischer's directorial debut, with a script penned by TV writers, is as fun and mostly as predictable as a fair ride -- a thrill or two along the way, and little worth remembering after the thing jolts to a stop.