Certain movies are like beef-tongue tacos: they're good while you'reconsuming them, but the more time you have to digest them, the moreyou want to vomit.
It's also true that, in both cases, it's possible to enjoy them ifyou're stumblingly intoxicated, but if you're that messed up thenyou'd enjoy things like having long talks about your feelings andfalling down stairs, too, so what kind of baseline is that. Don't betricked: just because it comes in a taco shell doesn't mean it'sdelicious. Zombieland might have zombies in it (thoughhonestly, not all that many), but that doesn't un-lame its jokes orexcuse its "copy of a copy of a copy" feel.
Months after a rampaging virus has turned nearly all of the U.S.population into flesh-hungry zombies, dorky college student JesseEisenberg sets out on foot to find whether his parents are stillalive. He soon runs into Woody Harrelson, a zombie-killing stud whoagrees to give him a ride.
But zombies aren't the only threat in their world; as in ours, a hotchick can mess you up just as bad as a brain-eater. Once Eisenberg andHarrelson run into Emma Stone and her little sister, their trip getsdetoured with a quickness.
I walked out of Zombieland with the sensation of having beentransported to an alternate universe where the only difference is thatawesome things, rather than being awesome, are crummy and tediousinstead. How else to explain my annoyance with a movie from a genre Ilove featuring a cast I like? A fatal case of Mean Old Man-itis? Notenough nudity? (None, to be specific.) The tragic realization I'llnever again enjoy slow-motion violence as much as I did the first timeI saw The Matrix?
All these things are true, but they're also true of plenty of moviesI've liked. Difference is, Zombieland wants to be a big comicromp--and there are a few laughs here; the cast is too talented for itto be a total waste--but instead of pulling me on board for the bighilarious win, it made me think of a little boy playing with an oldkitty, laughing and petting away without realizing Whiskers actuallydied hours ago.
Its fundamental crime is it's just not imaginative. Besides totingaround more weapons than they presumably did in simpler, zombie-freetimes, the characters show no signs of how they've adapted to theapocalypse. There's no real sense of how the world's changed at all,really, other than the fact driving around all those crashed cars is areal bitch. It's hard to get involved when the setting's shallow as aloogie.
The characters are no deeper. Eisenberg's an anal-retentivevideo-gaming nerd with all kinds of rules about survival, right, yetin the couple months he's had to gear up, he somehow hasn't thought toarm himself with anything more than a double-barreled shotgun thatneeds to be reloaded after each blast.
Any idiot who's ever touched a Resident Evil game knows ifyou're going to continue existing outside a zombie's corrodingintestinal tract, you need a scope-mounted hunting rifle, a riot gunor machine pistol for crowd control, a backup pistol, and a katana.This is just common sense, people.
I get that this is all beside the point; Zombieland isn'tsupposed to be realistic, it's supposed to be "fun." That's no excusefor laziness. It ain't like it's dishing out crazy-sweet zombiemurders or fresh jokes on the genre, either. The whole thing isequally thoughtless, as if the writers and director were vaguely awareof what's cool (zombies, Harrelson, smashing things) and what isn't(clowns, Garfield) and figured that was enough to hang a movie around.Derivative, disposable, and oblivious, Zombieland is shiny onthe surface and empty underneath.