“Zombieland” is one of those movies that just make you smile. It is brimming with enthusiasm, excitement and just plain fun. You can tell that all the actors involved were having the time of their lives. Here is the movie that “Jennifer’s Body” wanted to be, but failed to get there.
“Zombieland” is just like the title describes. America is infected by a plague that makes people zombies. If you are bitten by one of these people, then you are doomed by the same fate. Lanky Columbus (Jessie Eisenberg) has somehow made it through without being affected. He has done this by following some simple rules like beware of bathrooms, do cardio and fasten your seatbelts. These rules pop up on screen throughout the film, but thankfully it doesn’t get tiresome. Eisenberg also provides narration in “Zombieland”. This too is used judiciously and with great comedic effect.
Columbus is trying to get back to Columbus, Ohio to see if his family is all right. All of the major characters in the movie are named after where they are from. Columbus soon meets up with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson). Tallahassee is a cowboy through and through. He shows Columbus the ropes on how to kill zombies and enjoy the little things. Harrelson has always been a maverick in the roles he chooses. This has to be his best performance since his two very different roles in “Kingpin” and “People vs. Larry Flynt” in 1996. Harrelson had a big part in creating the look and feel of the character. It shows in how he completely envelopes himself in Tallahassee. A nice extra touch for Tallahassee is his constant craving for Twinkies. It is one of the better product placements in recent memory and provides plenty of laughs.
The twosome is eventually joined by con artist sisters Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin). Initially there is a lot of mistrust between the two groups. It didn’t help that the two sisters stole Tallahassee’s car. The thoughts of survival though bring them together again. They chart a new path to California and a possible zombie free zone at Pacific Playland. This is an amusement park that Little Rock loved as a small kid.
“Zombieland” boasts one of the best cameos. Some cameos in movies just don’t work or the actor overdoes it in this area (Will Ferrell comes to mind). The studio wants the cameo to be a surprise, so I won’t ruin it. I will just say that the person is not wasted in the role and gets some of the best laughs.
Director Ruben Fleischer (remarkably his first feature film) and screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese should be applauded for making a funny, gory, wild and vastly entertaining film. You never know what is coming next and you are on the edge of your seat to find out. It never drags and doesn’t pad the running time with needless garbage. This is the best time I’ve had at the movie theater all year. Hopefully this does big business to start a new franchise. That would be a hoot.
CAST & CREW:
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin
Directed By: Ruben Fleischer
Written By: Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick
Produced By: Gavin Polone
Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) has made a habit of running from what scares him. Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) doesn't have fears. If he did, he'd kick their ever-living ass. In a world overrun by zombies, these two are perfectly evolved survivors. But now, they're about to stare down the most terrifying prospect of all: each other.