Sunday, December 20, 2009

Day 276: Zombieland (2009) - Rank 5/5


There are two genres of film that are terribly overdone in cinema today - angsty teen romance and zombie flicks. The first has been common theatre fare since "American Pie," where an awkward teen tries to get the girl, but his foibles and eccentricities get the best of him until the girl learns to love and appreciate him for those qualities. I suppose it could be argued that such characters have been around far longer (Corey Haim could play such characters to perfection in John Hughes films), but it's only become a trend in recent years to make such characters the driving force behind the plot rather than having them serve as comedic relief on the side. As for zombies...'nuff said. Seventy percent of the horror films released in this day and age have zombies somewhere and it's become a theme that's exhausted as vampires. However, the amalgamation of the two surprisingly worked.

I went in expecting to find the film predictable and mildly funny (I think I'm one of the few people in my circle of friends who found "Shaun of the Dead" too "by the books"), but instead, I was quite simply laughing my ass off. Woody Harrelson was tolerable, nay likable, as Tallahassee, a Twinkie-obsessed redneck who shacks up with a nervous, yet level-headed Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg aka "poor man's Michael Cera"...I kid!) in a post-apocalyptic world. Columbus finds himself pining for Wichita (Emma Stone), a foil to the duo, primarily because she's the only girl in a hundred-mile radius that will talk to him and isn't trying to devour his flesh.

At this late date, I don't think it counts as a spoiler to mention that Bill Murray also appears in the film in the most brilliant, self-parodying cameo I've ever witnessed. Tears of joy intermixed with tears of laughter as he chewed the scenery far more than the zombie hoards could. This was easily one of the more delightful surprises I've had in theatres this year, considering I went in expecting convention and tedium. Thankfully, I received neither.

Watch the Trailer

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