Finally got to see Zombieland, a zom-com directed by Ruben Fleischer. Zombieland starts wells as we are immersed in this somewhat ridiculous yet somewhat realistic post-apocalyptic world. Zombies have taken over the world and very few survivors remain. Only the wittiest and not necessarily strongest have survived the onslaught. However, this quickly fades into a pointless road trip slash zombie movie. There is no real plot driving the movie: Nerdy loner Colombus (Jesse Eisenberg) is on his way to his hometown of Colombus, Ohio when he happens to cross the path of Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), a gung-ho post-apocalyptic cowboy. Guess what, they team up on some odd and pointless journey across the country, stumbling across Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) while searching for some Twinkies, finally to head to some attraction park in Los Angeles. They do halt at some native-American store to trash the place, and stop by a movie star mansion for a funny but pointless cameo. Mix in a little zombie whacking, a little teen romance, and sadly, I just told you the entire story.
Don’t get me wrong, Zombieland is far from a disaster and is a fairly entertaining movie. The dialogue are somewhat funny and the premise is conducive to let your imagination run wild as to what you would do in the same type of situation. The overall tone is light hearted and satirical and the cameo is the highlight. The movie doesn’t pretend to weight itself down with too many details about zombie survival and shows some flash of being able to take it to the next level. Problem is… we seem to be stuck in 2nd gear the entire movie. There is some jumpy moments but those are artificially created with sudden loud sounds or music, instead of a truly scary appearance. Running at barely 80 minutes, the movie needs a lengthy cameo-filler to barely make it to an acceptable duration.
Performance-wise, Jesse Eisenberg could just as well have been replaced by Michael Cera and no one would have noticed. I don’t know if they are being typecast but both actors seem to play the exact same role in every movie they are in, which does get very repetitive and unoriginal very quickly. He throws out not so funny lines and has the same nerdy semi-scared expression all-movie long (or possibly 24/7). It’s tough to evaluate how good of an actor he is since he could just be what he is playing in real life as well. Woody Harrelson is solid albeit unspectacular, delivering some solid one-liners and providing most of the comedy through his intelligent performance. Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin are decent in fairly bland roles. The characters are shallow and fairly uninteresting as we don’t get to know much about any of them beyond the obvious.
Zombieland is an entertaining and somewhat funny movie with some good ideas and an interesting premise. However, something is missing: this movie lacks heart and soul. It is almost… bland. The search for the ultimate zombie movie continues…
Note: Rated R for horror violence/gore and language