Funny horror comedy is one of the best mixing of genres in years.
Sometimes the viewer of a film are so aware of the trickery, reveals, twists, and hidden meaning offered up to them - canny to keep an eye out - that he forgets the reason he goes to see movies in the first place: To be entertained. I was appalled when I saw on some fora where the wonderful Trick r Treat was being deconstructed and denounced because the viewer, in those cases, had forgotten that not every movie is directed with sequel building, dense allegorical connections, or overly cute cleverness in mind. If a person is the type that could not watch "Trick r Treat" with the understanding that it is whimsical slice of childhood fear produced with a loving infatuation for the subtler and more honest feelings of Halloween and the thrill of being scared; and if that person wants gore, archetypal origins story, torture, twists, and a whole heap of pop psychology, then both "Trick r Treat" and "Zombieland" are movies that person should sit out. They're not going to get it.
However, if one likes to be entertained, to laugh and chuckle, and to come away from a movie - not feeling moved - but feeling as though he just paid a fair price to have a lot of fun for 80 minutes, then "Zombieland" is a movie that person should check out.
Jesse Eisenberg is Columbus. He introduces himself at the beginning of "Zombieland" with a funny and gory montage involving others while explaining his main rules for surviving in Zombieland. There is also a small flashback sequence that just barley touches on the beginning of the trouble with zombies.
Columbus is a neurotic loner and has never been close to his family. He feels the need, though, to see a familiar face - or even another non-zombiefied face - so he sets out from his college in Texas traveling to Columbus hoping that his family might be alive. Shortly thereafter he meats Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson,verry funny). Tallahassee is a zombie killing party animal who believes in one thing: Enjoy the little things. For Tallahassee the little things can be a good zombie kill, having nice wheels, testosterone enhancing firepower, or, his holy grail, a fresh Twinkie.
Though they are opposites, Columbus and Tallahassee form a partnership and decide to travel together. Once traveling they quickly meet up with Wichita (Emma Stone,great!) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) - a young woman and her aged 12 sister. The two girls are more wary of forming alliances and leave Columbus and Tallahassee behind a few times before the four finally agree to head west together to an old amusement park outside of Los Angeles that is rumored to be a zomebie-free zone.
That's pretty much it. The middle of the movie turns more to a light romance between Columbus and Wichita as Eisenberg assembles his typical charming neurosis while trying to woo the ballsy bad girl Stone. Franky the romance part does not work that well. Eisenberg is charming in the same way he is in every role he is seen in, but Stone was a non-factor. I didn't buy the bad girl, I didn't buy the romance, and in many ways Stone was slightly upstaged by her younger co-star Breslin. However Stone was cute enough and so little of the film was wasted on the romance as to make it forgivable.
As I am sure many have heard, there is quite a surprise cameo in the film. I am not sure how much of a surprise it is; I remember reading production news about the film and there was word that this actor was on the set. Either way, surprise or not, it is one of the best cameos of recent memory with some cult worthy scenes playing off that actor's well known body of work. It works as being ridiculously funny and as a great segue between the road movie first act and the escape and rescue third act. The cameo also does a nice job of helping one forget the non-starter romance side plot.
"Zombieland" has a running time of just over 80 minutes and those minutes are well spent. My gut feeling is there might have been a lot of sappy character building and romantic scenes cut out of the movie and that led to the shorter than average length. Great, I say. "Zombieland" is not a story that takes 100 minutes to tell. The 80 minutes are packed with action and humor and is short enough so that the one mismatched ingredient is easily forgiven. "Zomebieland" is great fun and movie that can be enjoyed in almost any environment. What it excels at is reminding us that movies are at their best when they deliver uncompromised fun and enjoyment.
Ps. : I love when they show the rules in the movie, i dont know why but looks like a video game or something, it's very cool.