The Movie Waffler New Release Review - ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP | The Movie Waffler

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New Release Review - ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP

zombieland double tap review
The quartet of zombie apocalypse survivors find themselves divided.


Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Ruben Fleischer

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Zoey Deutch, Abigail Breslin, Emma Stone, Rosario Dawson, Luke Wilson, Thomas Middleditch

zombieland double tap poster




It's always fun when a movie opens with a gag based around its studio logo. My favourite is still the Universal globe flooding at the opening of Waterworld, but Zombieland: Double Tap gives it a run for the money with the Columbia Pictures lady wielding her torch as a weapon against attacking zombies. Opening your movie with its best gag is always a bad idea, but when it's your only gag you're really setting yourself up for a fall. Once the studio logo has faded, that's it as far as originality and wit goes for director Ruben Fleischer's redundant sequel to his 2009 horror comedy.

zombieland double tap review

We're several years into the zombie apocalypse and the quartet of survivors we got to know in the first movie - Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson - how did they get him back?), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg - how did they get him back?), and sisters Wichita (Emma Stone - how did they get her back?) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin - how did...never mind) - have moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, because why wouldn't you crash in the plushest house in the nation? Tallahassee and Columbus have grown content with their lives, but tired of their newfound domesticity, the sisters leave in the middle of the night, leaving behind only a brief farewell note for the boys.

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As he had just proposed to Wichita, Columbus takes this pretty badly, but he soon forgets his woes when he runs across Madison (Zoey Deutch), a bird-brained valley girl who has survived by living in a shopping mall's freezer compartment. When Wichita returns with the news that Little Rock has disappeared with a hippy stoner (Avan Jogia), the four set off together to find her, with much tension brewing between Columbus and the women in his life.

zombieland double tap review

That's a summation of Zombieland: Double Tap's threadbare premise, but the truth is it's a sequel in search of a story to justify its existence. Like its walking dead antagonists, the film shambles from one half-baked scenario to the next in search of something to sink its teeth into, but comes up empty every time. The movie's idea of a humorous situation is to simply place its characters in an iconic setting. We're supposed to find amusement in the survivors hanging out at the Whitehouse and Graceland, but the film never mines any humour from such locations. It's sort of like how those Scary/Epic/Whatever Movie parodies expect us to laugh simply because they're referencing other movies.

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At one point Luke Wilson and Thomas Middlemitch turn up as characters whose whole shtick is that they resemble Tallahassee and Columbus, but the movie struggles to make something of this idea, becoming bogged down in interminably extended comic improv scenes that make Judd Apatow look like a master of economic comedy. Stick around for the end credits and you'll be treated to an equally unfunny coda involving a celebrity cameo, a final desperate attempt to throw fans of the first movie one last meat-stripped bone.

zombieland double tap review

Why Stone would return to this world at this point in her career is baffling (unless you're her bank manager, of course). Even more bemusing is how the film completely wastes her comic chops, along with those of the always excellent Deutch, who works overtime to make something of her one-note dumb blonde stereotype, and almost succeeds. If Zombieland: Double Tap is the movie that finally makes Lea Thompson Junior a mainstream star, perhaps it will have justified its existence after all.

Zombieland: Double Tap is in UK/ROI cinemas October 18th.




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