In 2009, Zombieland was a breath of fresh air. A horror comedy that was sharp, very occasionally sweet and downright stylish. In 2019, Zombieland: Double Tap is tired old tricks buoyed by a cast that still shines terribly bright. Emma Stone doesn’t seem the kind of Oscar winner to shirk her contract commitments, so it makes sense that she still gives her all to Wichita and her merry band of survivors, but the distance that’s emerged between her and Jesse Eisenberg is so palpable it’s distracting.
Years on from where we’ve left them, Wichita, Columbus, Little Rock and Tallahassee have settled into a routine and a quaint home on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Painfully unaware of his partner and the new world in which they live, Columbus grabs the hope diamond and pops the question. Wichita grabs some weapons, her kid sister and makes a break for it. At this point, it all adds up. But as fate binds most of the original crew back together for a roadtrip to save Little Rock from the kind of boyfriend mistake most girls make in college, the seams begin to unravel.
The zombies have evolved, but our heroes haven’t. Columbus is still nervous and clingy. Wichita is still cool and suspicious. Tallahassee is still a badass with a heart of gold. Little Rock is still a kid, except she isn’t. And shipping Columbus and Wichita quite suddenly becomes as 2009 as Tallahassee’s catchphrase. Fear not, Zombieland: Double Tap is rife with jokes about the early aughts. And jokes about these wild pre-2020 days that are meant to show us how clever the script is, even if they make no sense in a world dominated by mostly dead things.
Do we still get a jolt of joy with every Zombie Kill of the Week? Of course. Does it all feel beside the point? It sure does. Zombieland: Double Tap is fine enough for a bit of light entertainment, but there’s no there there. By the time the after credits scene fades (and make no mistake, it is the best scene) the film itself has faded as well.
Call it a Halloween trifle if you call it anything, but don’t expect the fun to last as long as a post-apocalyptic Twinkie.
Zombieland: Double Tap
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Writer: Dave Callaham, Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Runtime: 1h 39 mins
Release Date: October 18, 2019
Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio © 2019 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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