Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin

Directed by Ruben Fleisher

Written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick

Release Date: October 2, 2009
Running time 80 minutes

Last week I wrote that my enjoyment of BRIGHT STAR was compromised by my companions. This week it happened again. We saw the movie in a rundown multiplex. As the movie was beginning, a group of about a dozen children with an adult male and female entered the theater. The chaos emanating from this group severely affected my engagement with the film. Sitting next to a man, (oh, yes, my husband), who kept shouting. “Be Quiet” added a nice tension to the goings on though. Instead of moving away from the unruly family, people began to move away from us.

ZOMBIELAND has gotten pretty sterling reviews and I can see why to some extent. There are many amusing, clever moments. The foursome is likable and you root for them to avoid becoming lunch. I am getting a bit tired of the Jesse Eisenberg/Michael Cera stock character—the bright but nerdy and wordy protagonist. I don’t hate that role—yet—but I feel that day is coming fast. I advise both actors to seek out other parts.

PLOT-Zombies have quickly taken over most of the country. The plague began when someone ate a hamburger infected with mad cow disease. Our hero, Columbus, a quirky, phobic, list-making guy has become an expert on how to survive the zombies but meeting up with Tallahasse (Woody Harrelson) and two sisters, Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) increases the odds of survival. This is basically a road movie after that with clever set pieces along the way. Each of the four has a destination of sorts where they believe they’ll be safe. Zombieland is very bloody and violent, but all of the mayhem is of the cartoon variety.

A lot of Zombieland was fun, but there are far too many scenes of our heroes shooting zombies—and not in any unusual or interesting way. There are also a number of unnecessary scenes of them destroying things that don’t need to be destroyed. If it were a serious meditation on what being in this situation does to mental health, it would be understandable. But it’s a comedy so these scenes didn’t work for me.

The best part of the movie—well, I’m not going to ruin it for you. That routine alone made it worth seeing for me. This is no SHAUN OF THE DEAD, but it will probably please a lot of people.

Patti Abbott writes crime fiction short stories. She hosts a look at Forgotten Books every Friday with readers, writers and reviewers at She hopes you’ll join in.