People still argue about Hannah Montana after America is reduced to a smoking zombiepocalypse; they still get the munchies for Twinkies and have difficulty talking to hotties. An extra injection of pop-culture neuroticism is the one innovation of Zombieland, from a zany script by former TV-writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (The Joe Schmo Show). The movie isn’t particularly scary—not a crime when your goal is laughs. More egregious is the niggling fact that this simply isn’t as witty as Shaun of the Dead, forever the yuks-meet-yucks standard.
Jesse Eisenberg does his squirmy thing as gutless “Columbus” (they take on the names of their destroyed hometowns), surviving by sheer dint of his lengthy list of panic-stricken rules which show up onscreen as text—e.g., avoid bathrooms. He joins forces with shit-kicker Tallahassee (Harrelson), savvy Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) and future love-interest Wichita (high-booted Stone, easing dangerously toward Planet Lohan). They all head west, and the frustrating part about Zombieland is its rote road map: We could come up withcleverer diversions than clown zombies or laying waste to a tourist trap called Kemo Sabe. The best sequence involves a cameo too precious to spoil, involving a sad-eyed Hollywood legend who knows a thing or two about deadpanning—or is it undeadpanning?—Joshua Rothkopf
Watch the trailer