Monday, December 7, 2009

Ruben Fleischer – Zombieland (2009)

While brains do seem to be the flavour of the moment – second only to fangs – that’s not to say that among the dross, there won’t be some moments which are entertaining, if not exactly original masterpieces. Zombieland does what it sets out to do very well – to entertain and amuse. The story, such as it is, follows an ‘odd couple’ – nerdy college student (Jesse Eisenberg) and a hard-living macho type (Woody Harrelson), thrown together by chance in the aftermath of the disease-based rise of the zombies – as they journey across a near-empty America (in echoes of the wonderful opening scenes of 24 days later, minus the poignancy, but also the incoherent self-importance) – on the way encountering two sharp-witted sisters (Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin) who serve as foils and provide the inevitable love interest (one does wonder why the male hero is an atypical unattractive nerd, while the female is a typical fox, but perhaps the good boy/bad girl role reversal makes this inevitable). The visual aesthetic, in particular, is very nicely done, with a cartoony feel reminiscent of Fight Club, while the humour is self-aware without giving the sense of trying too hard. The narrative is thin – and the Bill Murray cameo, though amusing, perhaps outstays its welcome – but overall, this is a simple film which is highly entertaining, the perfect popcorn experience – along with Shaun of the Dead, another one to chalk up for the fast-expanding genre of zombedy romcoms.

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