25 Nov

Director: Ruben Fleischer (2009)

It really has been a good time for the awkward virgins. They have been out there saving the world (Scott Pilgrim vs The World) and getting the girl (Adventureland) and now both saving the world and getting the girl, Zombieland. The geek got good. Especially Jesse Eisenberg who in the wake of The Social Network has been breaking hearts all over the joint from teenage girls to film critics, and much as it breaks my heart to say it, seems to have become the more credible Michael Cera. No, I take that back, not the more credible, maybe the more adaptable or less typecast (sorry Michael, please still marry me). But on first look at Zombieland, Ruben Fleischer’s directorial debut, it seems to resist the typically forced ‘kooky’ indie-alt attributes films like Adventureland boasted. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy Adventureland…just nowhere near as much as I enjoyed Zombieland – much of this is likely down to the presence of Kirsten Stewart and the absence of one Emma Stone.

Let’s start with the casting, Jesse Eisenberg, everyone’s favourite awkward but not too awkward looking twenty something, superfreak Abigail Breslin, and Woody Harrelson. Oh and Bill Murray but more on him later. Boom. Immediately we are off to a good start. With overlaid visuals not dissimilar to Roth’s Scott Pilgrim, imbuing the film with a comic book sheen as captions and freeze frames, the film is stylised without looking tacky and overdone like Scott Pilgrim sadly did in parts… We have the generic set up – virus infected the world, everyone is a zombie except for an unlikely group of survivors who undoubtedly must band together to save themselves and each other. Cautious Columbus (Eisenberg) comes equipped with a fail safe list of rules for zombie survival, but also a paranoia around girls, a deserved fear considering the history of girls who interpret the ‘eating face’ portion of foreplay a little too literally for most guys’ liking… Woody Harrelson is the hilarious Tallahassee, a rough and ready guy with plenty of artillery – the kind of guy you want around when fighting a zombie apocalypse, his bad ass-itude is offset perfectly by Witchita (Emma Stone) – the kind of girl you want around if you are a twenty something year old virgin in the face of impending doom and dying without having sampled womanly pleasures. With her younger sister, Little Rock (Breslin), Witchita is headed for Pacific Playground, an allegedly zombie free zone… Not so much. The film doesn’t do anything new in terms of zombie battling – but it never purports to. Instead Zombieland is a lighthearted, but nonetheless gory as hell, comedy adventure as this motley crew tour the abandoned highways of post-apocalyptic America in search of their salvation.

Perhaps one of the best moments along their journey, and perhaps in the last ten years of cinema, has to be the Bill Murray cameo. Arriving in Los Angeles, the gang decide that they have worked hard enough defending themselves against zombies and deserve a bit of chillaxing in style, namely the Hollywood mansions. Using the Hollywood maps as a real estate guide, they decide on Mr Murray’s home. Only to discover he is actually one of the five people left uninfected. Imagine that?! If ever you were to have survive the end of days with a smile on your face it would be if Bill Murray was there to see you through it…. I won’t spoil it for anyone still to witness this stellar cameo but it truly is one of the best cameos I’ve seen, even better than Stan Lee in Mallrats. And I ain’t one for hyperbole.

If you’re looking for is a flawless cast, fantastic writing, stomach aching laughs, gore and ass kicking fight scenes, look no further than Zombieland. With life lessons throughout, such as the importance of wearing seatbelts and cardio training, and the incomparable tag line of ‘Nut Up or Shut Up’, Zombieland is the film that keeps on giving. Except the clown bit. I was in no way expecting that. Clowns – bad. Zombies – bad. Unexpected Zombie Clowns – not cool Fleischer. Not cool.


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