Zombieland Double Tap - This Movie Does Not Rock
Dir: Rueben Fleischer
Starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Bill Murray, Roasario Dawson, Luke Wilson, Thomas Middleditch, Zoey Deutch
10 years back, there were two things that made the original, inventive Zombieland a decent watch – Woody Harrelson and a sublime Bill Murray as, well, “Bill Murray”, famous actor and survivor of the zombie apocalypse. Both are present here (with Murray in a mid-credits flashback to Zombie Apocalpyse, Day One). But unfortunately whatever magic that original movie had has dissipated.
Our original foursome, named for their home towns - Tallahassee (Harreslon), Columbus (Eisenberg), Wichita (Stone) and Breslin’s Little Rock are ten years down the line and the zombies have evolved in many ways – they have really fast ones now known as “Bolts” – for Usain, and so forth.
Our ersatz family foursome spend their time living between national institutions – moving into the White House for awhile, heading off to Graceland when they get bored – until Little Rock gets really bored and heads off to find someone her own age and ends up in a hippie commune called Babylon – named for the David Gray song, naturally.
There are moments when the films aims to ape the inventiveness of the original – rules flash up on the screen as before, particularly in a decent sequence where Wilson and Middleditch show up as almost-dopplegangers of Harrelson and Eisenberg respectively. Those scenes are pretty funny – but they’re about the only ones in the movie that are.
What strikes you most about Double Tap is simply how unamusing it is. There are obvious jokes – but they obviously fall flat for the vast majority of its screen time. You could argue that in the decade in between this and the first Zombieland, the presence of The Walking Dead (mentioned here) has inured us to the whole post-zombie apocalypse riff. But that’s not it. It simply isn’t very funny. And it needs to be. And any movie that makes Woody Harrelson look bad is on a hiding to nothing.
Murray shows up right at the end in a genuinely amusing moment that threatens to redeem it. But by then it really is a case of too little, too late. Extremely disappointing.
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