Zombieland: Double Tap

Review by Rich Cline | 3/5

Zombieland: Double Tap
dir Ruben Fleischer
prd Gavin Polone
scr Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Dave Callaham
with Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, Rosario Dawson, Zoey Deutch, Avan Jogia, Luke Wilson, Thomas Middleditch, Julia Vasi, Al Roker, Bill Murray
release US/UK 18.Oct.19
19/US Columbia 1h39

dawson deutch murray

See also:

eisenberg, harrelson, breslin, stone
A decade later, the cast reassembles for another comical zombie romp, once again borrowing heavily (sometimes shamelessly stealing) gags from other movies in the genre. It's a snappy, engaging and often hilarious romp, with a few moments of crazed action to liven things up further. And the cast is having so much fun that it's likely that it won't be 10 years before the next sequel.
After years evading the undead, Tallahassee, Wichita, Columbus and Little Rock (Harrelson, Stone, Eisenberg and Breslin) know how to defeat the three zombie types. They've also occupied the White House. But the team splits up when Little Rock goes in search of love, meeting the pacifist Berkeley (Jogia) and heading to Graceland. The others follow, joined by the airhead Madison (Deutch), who they meet in a mall, naturally. Then in Memphis they learn that Little Rock and Berkeley have gone to the hippie commune Babylon, and there's a fiercer breed of zombie on the loose.
The screenplay piles on the jokes every step along the way, with running gags, sudden comical violence and outrageous characters like Dawson's tough Nevada, Wilson's swaggering Albuquerque and Middleditch's nerdy Flagstaff. Along with the verbal wordplay, Fleischer packs each scene with visual punchlines that maintain a raucous comical tone. Mainly, the zombies seem to remain lurking in the background with the occasional flourish of violent action. Yes, it gets extremely grisly now and then, but always in a way designed to keep the audience laughing.

There isn't much the actors can do with these one-note characters, but they fill each encounter with plenty of fizzy sarcasm. They also have a lot of fun playing up the film's reference points and building some deranged connections between the characters. Dawson and Deutch are superb additions to the band, adding distinctive textures to the dynamic. Wilson, Middleditch and Jogia provide some solid laughs. And there's even a post-credit moment for Murray that might be the funniest thing in the movie.

It's frustrating that everything feels so flimsy. The premise and the narrative are smugly ill-defined, and the central figures seem to be transforming into characters from an episodic TV series. So the flurry of romantic resolutions feels far too easy, as does the cockamamie plan that fuels an outrageously enjoyable climactic battle sequence. In other words, for such a sardonic movie, this one has very little edge to it. But if it's going to be this lazy, at least it's amusing.

cert 15 themes, language, violence 16.Oct.19

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© 2019 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall