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Overall Rating
3.45

Awesome: 21.84%
Worth A Look41.38%
Average: 8.05%
Pretty Bad: 17.24%
Total Crap: 11.49%

5 reviews, 57 user ratings


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Zombieland
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by Rob Gonsalves

"The latest geek-beloved tripe."
2 stars

All the geeks love "Zombieland." It's like "Drag Me to Hell," only it's actually making some money -- it's crossed over to the non-geeks. What do all those people see in it, though?

I must've seen a different Zombieland, one that isn't so slight and glib, one that has some decent characters defined by something other than clichés and traits. Some have compared it to Shaun of the Dead, which set the bar very high for zombie comedies. Zombieland doesn’t clear that bar; it barely even runs up to it. It’s a fundamentally lazy and witless film.

There are four (temporarily five) human characters in Zombieland; the rest of the population has turned into slavering, gut-munching zombies (they sprint, like the flesh-eaters in the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake). We have the nerdy Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), the zombie-killin’ good ol’ boy Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), and a pair of sisters (Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin) who con the guys out of their vehicles not once but twice. But eventually they all band together, because this zombie comedy is about finding a family. This is explicitly stated at the end, for the slowpokes in the audience.

Zombieland is over in 81 minutes (including end credits), which I suppose is a mercy, because most of this road film goes nowhere. Entirely too much time is spent inside the mansion of a Hollywood star cameoing as himself, none too amusingly — a shock, given the star. Word is that this cameo was envisioned for various different celebrities, depending on who could commit to it, and that the star’s scenes were written at the last minute. It shows. I didn’t particularly need to see the guy re-enacting one of his big hits from a quarter-century ago, like some outtake from Be Kind Rewind. He just drops in for a few jokey scenes (I have to say, his cameo in a big-budget film last year was a lot more random, and a lot funnier); then he’s gone, and the characters hang out in his mansion a while longer.

There’s a lot of padding throughout, including an odd bit when the characters arrive at some tourist trap selling Native American souvenirs and gleefully trash the place. Why? Boredom? (I could relate.) Is this supposed to signal contempt for Native Americans or for the whiteys who profit off fake war bonnets? Somehow I don’t think the movie thought about it, or anything else, that much. There’s some weak meta-humor when Columbus, who narrates, tells us various rules for survival (always check the back seat; shoot zombies twice just to be sure). But most of Zombieland seems to deal with a generic post-apocalypse — there are long stretches where the zombies aren’t around at all.

Okay, a lot of what I’ve said could also apply to George Romero’s 1979 classic Dawn of the Dead. But Romero worked the situation for social and political commentary, and the non-zombie scenes compelled us because the characters were fresh and had quirks and flaws. Zombieland doesn’t care about its people nearly as much. One character delivers a tearful revelation, then caps it with “I haven’t cried like that since Titanic,” which kills whatever pathos could’ve been built. (Remember, there were genuinely tragic moments amid the hilarity and Queen songs of Shaun of the Dead.) The troubling suspicion arises that people are enjoying Zombieland so much because its “heroes” don’t change much, never seem to be in much danger, and even get to hang out with a celebrity. There’s nothing at stake.

Is this the best Americans can do? France gave us "Les Revenants" a few years ago, and Canada produced the little-seen "Pontypool" earlier this year. Those films tried to run the zombie narrative through a different and intriguing filter. "Zombieland" adds nothing to the subgenre. It’s crude wish-fulfillment (yes, you "World of Warcraft"-playing nobodies can shotgun a bunch of undead and get the girl) best forgotten.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=18370&reviewer=416
originally posted: 10/11/09 07:04:39
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: Fantastic Fest 2009 For more in the Fantastic Fest 2009 series, click here.

User Comments

9/25/13 David Hollingsworth A fresh and fun take on the zombie film. 5 stars
5/30/11 RLan Who would have thought it! A fun movie about zombies. 4 stars
2/19/11 art IT MAKES you SICK!!!!,or cause you to, choke on your POPCORN! 1 stars
1/02/11 Jessica Canavan I'm a geek and proud of it, but this film was just horrid; gross and not funny. 2 stars
11/29/10 mr.mike Grinds to a halt once they arrive at BM's, 3 stars
10/09/10 robzomby shaun of the dead it ain't. poor choices for the female leads 2 stars
9/21/10 art NOT BAD,but all ROMERO zombies flick's from NOTD to LOTD STINK!!!! 3 stars
8/10/10 Chad Dillon Cooper Limp Shaun of the dead zomcom. 2 stars
3/30/10 aperson A very funny film. You Sir are a troll. 5 stars
3/15/10 Mathew poop, really disappointed 1 stars
3/14/10 chris Holy crap, that was a boring movie. Just some kids babbling in a car. 1 stars
3/13/10 johnny The people that made this are rich, and your an internet film critic, need i say more? 1 stars
3/11/10 Richard Brandt I liked the tone shift when after the surprise cameo came an even more stunning revelation. 4 stars
3/03/10 Stanley Thai A very funny film with a sincere and humane side to it. 4 stars
2/26/10 Brian Expected low review from someone who gave the Twilight movies a better grade than Iron Man. 4 stars
2/07/10 art NOT BAD,but white ZOMBIE and ZomBIE,take the CAKE! 3 stars
1/14/10 Mike It's been years since I turned off a movie part-way through. Utter crap. 1 stars
12/29/09 art IF YOU HAVE A WEIRD SENSE OF HUMOR,this is your MOVIE! 3 stars
12/26/09 Chad Dillon Cooper Hollywood Hostess twinkie comedy. No wonder it was a big hit. 1 stars
12/15/09 geo Absolutely awful. Nothing remotely funny in it. 1 stars
12/12/09 anon Holy shit i'm sick of film critics over analysing every movie they come across. Funny movie 5 stars
12/11/09 Willie Stroker Your mums fundamentally lazy and witless you retard this is a 5 star movie 5 stars
12/10/09 David A. This intentionally corny-to-excess film takes spoofing to a whole new level. 3 stars
12/05/09 Sarah Hilarious film, I enjoyed it. This review does the movie absolutely no justice. It's great! 4 stars
12/02/09 Wilson Parasiuk Review is on. Why does this movie fair well with audiences? 1 stars
11/30/09 Kyaa FUNNY MOVIE! (if you have 15yo or less, otherwise its a borring shiet) 3 stars
11/29/09 Scuba Steve Funny movie. Similiar to"Zombie Survival Guide" 5 stars
11/29/09 Aaron Commareri Great Bloody Fun! 5 stars
11/22/09 green meanie some people don't understand things they can't pigeonhole.. like this critic 4 stars
11/19/09 jon Wow. Somebody really doesnt like nerds. Thanks for insulting WoW gamers everyware. jerk. 5 stars
11/10/09 Bill Ripkin I'm appreciating how everyone giving this movie positive feedback sounds like a 12 year old 1 stars
11/09/09 Jonathan Borthwick Other than the "celebrity" bash, your review was very accurate. Movie was pointless. 1 stars
11/07/09 LH Disappointing in that none of the key characters were eaten 2 stars
11/07/09 shane how are you a film critic? you have no clue lol 4 stars
11/03/09 Dave You're looking for social and political commentary? You REALLY missed the point... 5 stars
11/03/09 KingNeutron I liked it - good casting + performances -- definitely hoping for a sequel! 4 stars
10/29/09 Dudebro This movie was better then Shawn! Shawn had to much bland comedy. 5 stars
10/28/09 Shaun Your life must really suck. Have you ever laughed? I'll be not. 5 stars
10/27/09 Aaron One of the best zombie movies yet. This guy doesn't know what he is talking about. 5 stars
10/26/09 Jon You are fundamentally lazy and witless. Next time actually watch the movie you review! 5 stars
10/25/09 alex the film was tuly amazing. i don't know how you can give it such a bad review. 5 stars
10/18/09 Paul A completely enjoyable and hilarious film followed up by a terrible review. 5 stars
10/18/09 Dude Could have been better but not muvh 4 stars
10/17/09 ThisMovie WasGreat, I don't think you actually paid attention, because you're missing many points. 5 stars
10/16/09 tim my favorite zombie movie by far. this reviewer is an idiot and should be shot. they are pro 5 stars
10/15/09 Big Ben only watch if you looking a witless movie with underdeveloped characters 2 stars
10/15/09 Hart Joanie liked it on her smoke break. Good enough for me. 3 stars
10/15/09 Excellence This doesn't even compare to Shaun of the Dead. 2 stars
10/13/09 Pip enjoy the simple things in life laugh a little think less why else watch a movie? 5 stars
10/13/09 BOB Crap review. I don't lool to Zombie movies for social & political commentry, try the news. 4 stars
10/13/09 Collin Great review! thank you for not buying into the hype 2 stars
10/13/09 jake i didnt know movie critics had all that much more of a life compared to those who play WoW 5 stars
10/12/09 Tg You must be a blast at parties... 4 stars
10/07/09 The Grinch Mr. Childress, thanks for not giving away one of the coolest scenes, unlike IMabigDumBass 5 stars
10/06/09 PAUL SHORTT STRAINED, VIOLENT AND EMPTY 2 stars
10/06/09 Man Out 6 Bucks Felt unscripted: merely ad-libbed as the film rolled. A TV movie with a big screen budget. 2 stars
10/06/09 MARIA WILLIG One of the funniest films this year! 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-Oct-2009 (R)
  DVD: 02-Feb-2010

UK
  N/A

Australia
  02-Oct-2009
  DVD: 02-Feb-2010




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