Published on October 2nd, 2009 | by simeon0
Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) is an unassuming young man who makes his way through life the best way he can despite being plagued by Irritable Bowel Syndrome. This particular affliction is a serious concern for Columbus as according to his rules for survival, bathrooms are a very dangerous place.
In the new horror/comedy “Zombieland”, Columbus finds himself as one of the few remaining people left alive, and is trying to make his way from Texas back to his family in Columbus in the hopes of finding them alive.
Despite being alone, Columbus keeps himself sharp through constant vigilance, and a list of rules he has created for surviving a world gone mad which he has dubbed Zombieland. As the film opens, Columbus establishes some of his most common rules which are then illustrated in very funny examples, which also serve to establish the backdrop of the film.
As he travels, Columbus crosses paths with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), who is on a quest to find the last remaining Twinkies in the world. Tallahassee established a no names rule, hence the characters in the film are known by the locales they are from. When he is not cruising the roads in search of his elusive snack cake, Tallahassee is an avid Zombie killer and takes great delight in dispatching as many of them as he can.
When a stop introduces the duo to a pair of sisters named Wichita (Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), who are dedicated to survival at all costs, and are not above taking some serious measures of manipulation to get ahead.
After some initial difficulties, the group joins up and head for California where Wichita has convinced Little Rock that a local theme park is a Zombie free area that will provide them a safe haven.
Despite some skepticism but buoyed by his attraction to Wichita, Columbus tags along, and awkwardly attempts to impress her which results in some very touching and funny moments.
The film shifts into high gear when the group arrives in L.A. and takes refuge in a mansion which has tons of laughs as well as a very solid celebrity appearance which is a true gem.
Eventually the subplots of the film all converge in a frantic array of action, humor, and romance that had the audience at the preview screening cheering and laughing.
“Zombieland” is a very enjoyable film that provides plenty of laughs and a good mix of action yet remains a character driven story. The leads all work very well with one another and Eisenberg follows his turn in “Adventureland” with a performance that establishes him as a young actor to watch. His likeable everyman quality combined with his charming sincerity and awkwardness makes Columbus a great foil and companion for the outrageous antics of Tallahassee.
The young love storyline is handled well in the film, and does not resort to any of the usual staples, and unfolds as a very realistic event in a world where Zombies are commonplace.
Director Reuben Fleischer keeps things moving at a brisk pace yet allows time for the characters to shine.
Naturally the film will draw comparison to the classic British film “Shaun of the Dead”, which features normal guys trying to cope with a Zombie invasion. Shaun had plenty of laughs, but at times seemed unsure of what direction it was trying to go in, especially toward the end of the film.
“Zombieland” almost defies you to categorize it as it is great mix of horror, comedy, and action disguised as a romantic comedy. The winning cast and formula makes “Zombieland” one of the most enjoyable films of the summer and a real treat.
4.5 stars out of 5.