I find something oddly comforting in forgetable, clichÃ©d movies. I’d be hard-pressed to explain it, but there’s something in there about how we get excited to see these movies, even though they’re just the same story over and over again.
But just because a movie is forgettable and clichÃ©d doesn’t mean it can’t be entertaining in its own right. That’s how I would describe Zombieland, which might not bring much new to the table, but it’s built with enough fun love to justify seeing.
There have been plenty of Zombie movies over the past few years, but has there been one that also served as a mainstream, coming-of-age road comedy? Nothing’s coming to mind, so we can at least say that it originated that combination of genres.
In the movie, a college student named Columbus is one of the last un-undead persons in the world, making his way back home in hopes of finding his family still alive and without an undying hunger for brains. He hasn’t met another survivor in weeks, when he comes upon a few other survivors (including Woody Harrelson, who has a lot of fun as a redneck whose anthem could be Limp Bizkit’s Break Stuff). Also, it may surprise you to find out that Columbus falls in love during the film (it probably doesn’t.)
There’s no plot point you won’t see coming from an hour ahead of time, but it’s worth noting that Zombieland is about about as good as this kind of movie can get. It’s mostly thanks to the script’s voice, written by first time feature writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. Guys like me – and if you’re a Transbuddha devotee, you and I are probably one in the same â€“ are going to fall for the film if just for its peppy, fun movie dork nostalgia. It’s full of pop culture references, like a Joss Whedon script without as much heart or the seventeen strong female characters.
But I also liked Jesse Eisenberg as Columbus. If you’ve seen the similarly titled Adventureland, you might know him as the lower profile actor that effectively out Michael-Ceras Michael Cera, and he’s got the same routine working in Zombieland, if tweaked a bit in favor of more laughs. There’s also a cameo that – while I’d be doing you a disservice in revealing it (I deleted its presence on the film’s Wikipedia entry, even!), is a damn fine one. I can’t even think of another cameo that I like half as much.
I could pick on the film’s shortcomings, of which there are plenty, but it’d be pointless. The movie never pretends to be more than it is, its just utilising the Teenage Guy’s Romcom formula as an outlet for Zombie jokes and movie references. And I’ll be damned if I need an excuse to watch those for eighty minutes.