Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) doesn’t miss on its zombie comedy

I love zombies. Those undead monsters know how to gnaw straight through my ribcage and into my heart. The film that reminded me of my love of the creature and the genre came out in 2009 and featured four actors that I really enjoyed watching team up and take out the flesh-eating hordes. Zombieland (2009) has so many pieces that I absolutely enjoyed watching – from the humor to the action, and especially the characters. Ten years later, and we finally get a worthy sequel (I’m looking at your horrible Amazon Original TV pilot episode). Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) isn’t as good as the first, but was still a whole lot of zombie-killing fun.

Zombieland: Double Tap clicked for me and I had a great time watching the crew at it again

Having survived together for quite some time during the zombie apocalypse, Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) have found a new place to call their home: the White House. Their little family becomes a bit too comfortable leading, and Little Rock desires some friends her own age and the chance to spread her wings. Following Little Rock’s departure, they fear for her safety and leave their sanctuary with the intent to bring her back home – but sometimes, the journey offers more than what’s expected. 

Let’s be honest – the casting of the characters in the first film was so perfect, that the attempt to re-cast them for the Amazon series was the show’s biggest flaw. Had they chosen to write about another group living in the same universe, maybe…and that’s a big maybe…it could have worked. There is absolutely no one else who could have brought the tinge of anger and hostility while managing to offer a sensitive and lovable side to Tallahassee other than Harrelson. The combination of Eisenberg and Stone adds so much to the humor and the chemistry they share, that – almost in spite of being a part of frequent on-screen pairings with another actor/actress (Stone with Gossling and Eisenberg with Stewart) – it just makes me love watching and rewatching the first film, and likely now the second. I enjoy these characters so much and truly love how lived-in they feel. Breslin has been a powerhouse performer since she was a child. She’s good here as well but truly doesn’t get a whole lot to do. Yet – as a probable result of her talent – she doesn’t deliver a weak performance during her scenes. What other horror-comedy can bring this caliber of acting to it? It’s so surprising that we got this sequel, as none of the four leads need to do a movie like this – and that’s part of the reason I enjoyed it so much. 

One of my favorite parts…no, my absolute favorite part of the first film – was the Bill Murray cameo. So, of course, with this being a sequel, there have to be even more celebrity cameos and some new characters thrown in to mix it up a bit. Luke Wilson, Rosario Dawson, and Thomas Middleditch all show up, perform admirably, and add something to the film. However, Zoey Deutch gets the most to do and is an absolute fountain of comedic joy in her scenes. I almost didn’t recognize her, as she becomes a very stereotypical ditzy blonde – but the jokes that are crafted as a result of her character worked for me and the audience I was with. 

While the film is a great deal of fun, there are definitely some issues that people could get hung upon. The plot is pretty generic, and ultimately just centered around Little Rock being turned into a MacGuffin. A majority of the conflict is mostly superficial, and the plot set-up pieces more than foreshadow how things will come back into play during vital parts in the movie. Of course, that’s to be expected – but many are a little too on-the-nose. However, this film isn’t really concerned with the plot; it seems more focused on giving you zombie-killing mayhem, sarcastic and biting humor, and characters that are basically just archetypes that feel a bit more fleshed out likely as a result of the high-quality actors in the roles. It does this all so successfully that I found the movie to be quite fun, despite some of its issues. 

Final thoughts…

If you enjoyed Zombieland, then I think you’ll likely enjoy its sequel. Director Ruben Fleischer and writers Rhett Reese, Dave Callaham, and Paul Wernick were careful not to overstay their welcome with this film and even managed to craft a bigger set piece for the finale than the first one. Unlike the many hordes of zombies in Double Tap, this movie isn’t looking for brains. Thus, sit back with your snack of choice…for me, it was the Pumpkin Pie ONE Bar I snuck in my pocket with my half-caf Pumpkin-Spiced coffee…and enjoy Zombieland: Double Tap, which earns the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.

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