1 hour, 20 minutes
Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg, Adventureland) has managed to survive the zombie apocalypse by following his rigid list of rules, first and foremost being cardio. He's traveling from Texas to Ohio to reunite with his family when he meets Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson, Semi-Pro). The two reluctantly team up to travel to their eastbound destinations. Along the way, the duo encounters sisters Wichita (Emma Stone, Superbad) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin, Signs) who turn the fellas' post-apocalyptic world upside down, causing them all to end up in Los Angeles.
I've been pondering ways to draft a clever review for Zombieland. I thought recapping the highlights via an extensive list of rules a la Columbus would be neat, but that'd require a lot of structure and discipline.
I could have talked about the trinity of obnoxiousness sitting behind me in the screening. You know the three: Detective Clueless, Mr. Obvious, and The Braying Mule. The first is the dumb chick who asks, Why'd they do that? about every scene. The second is the nimrod best friend to the blind moviegoer, explaining events such as She dropped a piano on him. Finally, you'll recognize the Mule as the fella who is apparently discovering the art of comedy this very moment, causing him to unleash a near-deafening guffaw over a scene no other fucker in the theater found funny.
Yeah, I could berate those tools, but let's not and say I did. What kind of review does Zombieland merit? One that gushes over its high points and forgives its minor foibles. Columbus is a wimp, but his carefulness and ever-expanding rules save him time and again. His physical and social limitations provide some hair-raising and hilarious moments. On the other hand, there's Tallahassee, a reckless action junkie who takes breaks from the road trip to blow off steam and zombie heads. He fills the carnage quotient and his insane quest for Twinkies is a great running gag. Watching the two of them riff off one another is just good fun.
When the ladies are introduced, Little Rock is a trip with her uninformed stance on any and every pop culture reference more than two years old. Wichita is the straight woman, a hardline loner who'd rather this happy band disband so she and her little sis can find peace on their own. The film has one cameo, which steals the thunder from the cast, but given who it is would you expect any less?
Told from Columbus's perspective, Zombieland relies on voiceover and montage to bring the audience up to speed. The opening montage front loads the film with action as zombies graphically devour human innards because people fail to adhere to Columbus's rules. Tallahassee's killing sprees are sickeningly creative and Harrelson seems to relish every moment. Wichita is one hot chick with a gun; Emma Stone's bedroom eyes and husky voice may have something to do with that. Somehow director Ruben Fleischer manages to slip in a swinging pair of pastie-clad zombie juggs for pervs like me. The language is as foul as a zombie's breath.
The Money Shot
Zombieland feels every bit as short as its eighty minute runtime, making you wish there were more. One might argue that I may be biased because any movie that pays homage to Ghostbusters is a must-see in my book. Zombieland is far from perfect, but neither the minor makeup and special-effects flaws nor the idiots behind me were enough to curb my enjoyment. The last few movies I've seen were so dull I haven't mustered up the energy to review them; this one was as refreshing as a hot shower or a fresh Twinkie.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009