Surprisingly entertaining in what is a thoroughly enjoyable film.
In the directors chair this time is Ruben Fleischer I knew of him for his work on the TV series Between two ferns with Zach Glaifianakis. He also worked on other TV productions like Rob and Big and Funny or die presents, this showed how he took a likeness of the comedy genre. And he looks to be really moving up with the anticipated Gangster Squad due for release in 2013, featuring the likes of Ryan Gosling and Sean Penn it looks very promising.
In Zombieland we are introduced to the world after a zombie apocalypse has taken over, Columbus (Jessie Eisenberg) is a shy student but remarkably has survived by following the rules he lays out for himself. Searching for his parents he head to Ohio. On the way he meets Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) a gun ho mad man desperate to find a Twinkie, Wichita (Emma Stone) head strong and looking after her younger sister Little Rock (Abigail Breslin). Together this disjointed group try to survive against the odds.
Zombie comedies have been around for a long time the genre started spawning from the zombies of films like King of the Zombies and Day of the Dead. Though arguably true comedic elements weren’t added to the genre until the Return of the living dead series. One of the most well known and recent ZomCom would have to be Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the dead.
With me watching this 3 years after release I knew of how it had be largely well received, however despite this I was largely skeptical merely believing it would be alright for a Saturday night. I was wrong it was far better than I expected. The most surprising for me was how many laughs this managed to get from me in a space of just under 90 minutes. If you have seen it there can be no arguments as to who gets the most laughs, yes I’m talking about Sir Bill Murray (it’s not a spoiler he is listed in the cast) it will have been said many a time but his cameo was that funny that I had to mention it here.
Bill aside the next funniest was Woody Harrelson , his character is a reckless tough guy however as the film goes on we begin to learn he is just as fragile. The best part of him is the running gag of his search for a Twinkie (An american sponge snack) such is the way Harrelson uses his somewhat comedic and cheeky face creates for some very funny moments. Jessie Eisenberg has his funny lines but think it’s important to realize that he was never meant to be the funniest character. Emma Stone plays the beautiful and mysterious Wichita, whilst obviously her character is mainly there for the love interest of Eisenberg however she plays it well and we get associated with her by the end of the film. Abigail Breslin is an up and coming child actor most well known for her role in Little Miss Sunshine and she shows us that she has great potential and can hold a character well.
The plot is rather predictable but never in such a way that annoys the viewer, such is the enjoyment level you comfortably follow along with the characters. That ‘enjoyment level’ is really important for I feel this is ultimately what the film is all about, and sure it aint scary but enough jumps and spooks to keep one happy. Notably it also felt ‘cool’. Seriously. The rules that Columbus used to survive appear every-time he uses them with graphics strategically placed in the shot, dialogue that might otherwise feel cheesy or cliched actually achieves the mood of ‘cool’
If there has ever been a film that merits the idea of simply switching oneself off and just enjoying the ride, this is right up there, full of laughs and thrills I was quite taken aback at how much fun was had here.
And no Columbia Pictures have not paid me for this review.