Oct 272009

zombieland_smallposterTwo men have found a way to survive a world overrun by zombies. Columbus is a big wuss — but when you’re afraid of being eaten by zombies, fear can keep you alive. Tallahassee is an AK-totin’, zombie-slayin’ badass whose single determination is to get the last Twinkie on earth. As they join forces with Wichita and Little Rock, who have also found unique ways to survive the zombie mayhem, they will have to determine which is worse: relying on each other or succumbing to the zombies.

Genres: Comedy and Suspense/Horror; Running Time: 1 hr. 22 min.; Release Date: October 2nd, 2009 (wide); MPAA Rating: R for zombie horror violence/gore and language.

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Amber Heard

Directed by: Ruben Fleischer

Produced by: Ezra Swerdlow, Paul Wernick, Rhett Reese

We went to see this movie weekend before last. It was about what I expected, but could have been better. We laughed plenty, there was the ever expected startle scenes, and of course plenty of blood and gore.

There is not myriad of layers to pull back, there is no deep allegory or social commentary, nor Art House-like direction, bizarre script, or really anything that is beyond just comedy-flick. That shouldn’t be taken to mean it’s a bad film.

Jesse Eisenberg is Columbus. He introduces himself at the beginning of “Zombieland” with a funny and gory montage involving others while explaining his main rules for surviving in Zombieland. There is also a small flashback sequence that just barley touches on the beginning of the trouble with zombies.

Columbus is a neurotic loner and has never been close to his family. He feels the need, though, to see a familiar face – or even another non-zombiefied face – so he sets out from his college in Texas traveling to Columbus hoping that his family might be alive. Shortly thereafter he meats Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson). Tallahassee is a zombie killing party animal who believes in one thing: Enjoy the little things. For Tallahassee the little things can be a good zombie kill, having nice wheels, testosterone enhancing firepower, or, his holy grail, a fresh Twinkie.

Though they are opposites, Columbus and Tallahassee form a partnership and decide to travel together. Once traveling they quickly meet up with Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) – a young woman and her aged sister. The two girls are more wary of forming alliances and leave Columbus and Tallahassee behind a few times before the four finally agree to head west together to an old amusement park outside of Los Angeles that is rumored to be a zomebie-free zone.

That’s pretty much it. The middle of the movie turns more to a light romance between Columbus and Wichita as Eisenberg assembles his typical charming neurosis while trying to woo the ballsy bad girl Stone. Franky the romance part does not work that well. Eisenberg is charming in the same way he is in every role he is seen in, but Stone was a non-factor. I didn’t buy the bad girl, I didn’t buy the romance, and in many ways Stone was slightly upstaged by her younger co-star Breslin. However Stone was cute enough and so little of the film was wasted on the romance as to make it forgivable.

There is a great surprise cameo in the film. It is one of the best cameos of recent memory with some cult worthy scenes playing off that actor’s well known body of work. It works as being ridiculously funny and as a great segue between the road movie first act and the escape and rescue third act. The cameo also does a nice job of helping one forget the romance side plot.

“Zombieland” has a running time of just over 80 minutes and some of those minutes drag some. “Zombieland” is not a story that takes 100 minutes to tell. It’s just a fun movie, probably worth watching, but won’t make it on anyone’s greatest films ever award.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (1 votes, average: 7.00 out of 10)

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