What should you expect when you’re going to see a movie called “Zombieland?” Obviously, expect some zombies. And in this new comedy starring veteran actor Woody Harrelson and veritable newcomer Jesse Eisenberg, expect to laugh the whole way through.
When Mad Cow Disease becomes Mad Human Disease (after a long series of unfortunate events occur that the movie never takes time to explain), a zombie apocalypse occurs and we join Tallahassee (Harrelson), Columbus (Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) as they make their way to Pacific Playland and kick some zombie ass along the way.
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin
Runtime: 81 min
My primary fear before viewing this film, among all the excitement and anticipation, was that “Zombieland” was going to make the classic mistake of waxing too sentimental in what should rightfully be a straight, no-tears-allowed comedy. If Lloyd Christmas had any real reason to fall in love with Mary Swanson in “Dumb and Dumber,” the movie just wouldn’t have been as funny. “Zombieland” avoided that landmine. While we have enough pathos included to connect us to the characters, the director leaves the rest of the time to laugh till our sides hurt. As he should.
The film succeeds by relying on its lovable characters and its delightfully gory slow-motion scenes. Tallahassee (none of the characters reveal their real names for fear of getting “too personal”) provides the majority of laughs as an outrageous, gun-toting, whiskey-drinking, zombie-killing, Twinkie-seeking cowboy. The whole time, you’ll probably be rooting for Columbus, the loner and a lovable geek, who has survived the apocalypse thus far by living by a solid set of rules. (Examples: Don’t be a hero, and always check the back seat.) Eisenberg does an excellent job of delivering his dry sarcasm with a knowing smile without making you think that perhaps Michael Cera turned this role down first. If he keeps on turning out comedies like this one and “Adventureland,” he’ll go far.
Wichita (Stone) and Little Rock (Breslin) are two conniving sisters with trust issues who dupe Columbus and Tallahassee time and again, but end up joining them in their travels. Stone plays the perfect teenage bad girl with a soft side (I predict her being the next Bond girl) in leather boots and heavy eyeliner, who has an extra gun in her boot and would give her life for her little sister. Breslin is hilarious and adorable, as usual.
In effect, when you go see “Zombieland” (and I think you should) just follow Columbus’ rule number two: Buckle your seat belt.