Thursday, March 19, 2015

Zombieland (2009) **

I think I speak for all of us when I say that a certain amount of zombie-fatigue has set in. The ubiquity of zombies in movies, TV shows, t-shirts, archery targets, and so on has long passed the saturation point. I think we are all ready for the next big, supernatural thing. (Leprechauns, maybe?) Back in 2009, however, zombies were still de rigeur, which I suppose is why someone thought this zombie-apocolypse comedy was necessary.

Jesse Eisenberg plays a wimpy agoraphobe whose reclusive, obsessive-compulsive traits help him survive a zombocalypse. He is making his way from Texas to Columbus, OH to search for his parents when he meets an unbalanced wild-man (Woody Harrelson) headed for Tallahassee,FL. Rather than exchange names, they just call each other by their hometowns, and Columbus and Tallahassee agree to ride east together for a little while. On a search for Twinkies (Tallahassee's weakness), the pair meet sisters Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), and after some hijinks, the four form an unlikely team. Inspired by Wichita's hotness, Columbus gives up on heading east, and they all travel west in search of Pacific Playland (a thinly-disguised Disneyland), which is reputed to be zombie-free.

There's no reason you couldn't hang a perfectly decent movie around this framework. With the right screenwriter, this could have been four wacky characters on a gonzo adventure. “Zombieland” just never comes together, though. The stupid plot makes the characters do too many senseless things for the story to be taken seriously at all, and so what we are left with is a pure comedy that isn't really very funny. Woody Harrelson is wasted on this; Abigail Breslin hardly does anything at all; Emma Stone spends the movie wearing a ridiculous amount of eye makeup; and Jesse Eisenberg just isn't a compelling lead. Bill Murray makes a brief appearance, but his scenes manage to be some of the least funny parts of the movie. Also, we have to listen to Eisenberg's annoying voice way too much.

If you want a comedic take on zombies, watch”Shaun of the Dead.” “Zombieland” isn't worth your time.

2 stars out of 5

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