Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Bresslin
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Writers: Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick
Okay, Bill Murray was the surprise cameo. Fantastic. But after seeing Zombieland finally, I'm left wondering: Was that such a spoiler? I certainly didn't find he added that much to the movie. Honestly, just make the guy do Ghostbusters 3, then I'll get excited. But this is about Zombieland, and not some pipe-dream for a Bill Murray-Harold Ramis reconciliation.
When I watched this movie, I got the feeling that the writers were aiming for the be-all-end-all zombie film for the ages. After Zombieland, we could bury the sub-genre and move on to some other monster. The movie had such an in-the-know style though, I wondered if a non-zombie fanatic would appreciate half of what was happening on screen. If just didn't strike me as a movie for anyone other than zombie fans. And since their appetites for zombie films are insatiable, this over-stuffed piece of undead slapstick is unlikely to have set the bar all that high for the next director to come along with a zombie film.
For what it is, I found it quite entertaining. Woody Harrelson turned a cardboard cutout into a living, breathing bad-ass. Emma Stone impressed me yet again with her rough hellcat persona, and even Abigail Bresslin endeared herself yet again. This time with a gun instead of a bumblebee costume. As for Jesse Eisenberg, his misanthropic teen angst schtick seemed to be directly ported from the disappointing Adventureland. Another tinny one-note performance like that, and I'm likely to discount him altogether like I have with Shia LaBeouf.
As for the tone of the film, I have no real complaints. The arcade style sentiment and irreverent humor towards a zombie apocalypse worked, though not at the same caliber as Shaun of the Dead. The one-liners and snarky dialogue was familiar, and maybe a bit glib, but this wasn't a masterwork and shouldn't be thought of as more than popcorn-laden escapism.
There were a couple of scenes with some obvious and distracting bits of CGI enhancement, and one piece of heavy-handed melancholy stuck out like a sore thumb, but overall it was a fun ride. I'm just not so sure I'll be in a hurry to watch it again compared to the previously mentioned Simon Pegg modern classic.