Saturday, November 7, 2009

Zombieland **

Director: Ruben Fleischer
Cast: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin

After zombies have taken all over the world, human survivor Columbus (Eisenberg) is trying to reach his hometown to see if he has a family to get back to.
Not out of any special connection, but because it's the normal thing to do, as he explains in a self deprecating narration.
On the way there he encounters Tallahassee (Harrelson) a Twinkie (as in Hostess pastries) loving redneck with a special talent for killing zombies and tough sisters Wichita (Stone) and Little Rock (Breslin) with whom he forms an unlikely family.
They stick together, only after learning to trust each other of course, and Columbus gives up his original plan in order to help the sisters get to Pacific Playland, an amusement park in California that reminds them of better times.
Forget the fact that these people think a rollercoaster ride is a priority, what matters here is that the filmmakers chose this over more "important" things.
It's clear from the start that this isn't a movie a la "28 Days" and its intention isn't to use zombies as a parable for anything else. What "Zombieland" tries is to push the genre forward and trying to emulate the wonderful "Shaun of the Dead", the filmmakers end up delivering something that works more like a buddy/road movie with a pinch of zombie parody.
Never scary enough to get the most out of the genre, the movie usually relies on the zombies as means to justify its need to utter pop culture references (Harrelson's micro rendering of "Deliverance" is delightful!) and exploit the likability of the actors.
Breslin can do no bad and even when she's holding a machine gun she manages to look adorable and age appropriate, while Eisenberg brings his "I am not Michael Cera but I act and look like him" qualities to a place where you can actually identify with his too self conscious deprecating.
The movie has its moments, in fact it has one of the most memorable cameos in any zombie movie ever, which despite its hilarious finale sadly feels like it lasts too little.
But most of the time it movies around aimlessly, like a zombie...
"Zombieland" is an exaltation of everything that is geek, from cult movie references to shameful confessions about virginity it's all a fantasy for people like Eisenberg's character.
Because of this it has franchise possibilities; if this one's about the geek getting the girl, there can be a million more about how he overcomes obstacles he can be bullied for.
But for all its heart it can't help itself from making the audience expect for it to end with geek waking up from a crazy dream with a familiar wet spot on his underpants.


Luke said...

This is disappointing! I actually wanted to check this one out, but clearly it's not so much with the greatness... (And you're totally dead-on with the Michael Cera comparison.)

Castor said...

Agree with your assessment of the movie, gave it a B- in my review.