Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Zoey Deutch, Avan Jogia, Rosario Dawson, Luke Wilson, Thomas Middleditch, Bill Murray
Written by: Dave Callaham, Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Directed by: Ruben Fleischer
MPAA Rating: R for bloody violence, language throughout, some drug and sexual content
Running Time: 99
Date: 10/18/2019
IMDB

Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Z Spirit

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

A happy companion rather than an inferior imitation, this is the rare sequel that feels as fresh and surprising — and as funny — as the original, and the players seem excited and refreshed to be here.

In Zombieland: Double Tap, it's ten years after the events of Zombieland (2009), and our foursome, Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), have settled down in the White House. Columbus tries to take his relationship with Wichita to the next level, and proposes, causing her to panic. Little Rock, meanwhile, feels stirrings of being on her own. So the sisters decide to leave.

A month later, a distraught Columbus meets the pink-clad Madison (Zoey Deutch) in an empty mall and invites her back to the house, just as Wichita returns. Wichita explains that her sister has run off with a hippie, Berkeley (Avan Jogia), with no weapons, and that a new strain of more intelligent, resilient zombies has evolved. It's time to hit the road again to save her, and the destination is Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.

Zombieland: Double Tap starts out on the right (rotting) foot with Eisenberg updating the viewers with a jokey, yet informative, narration, accompanied by a dazzlingly gory slow-motion title sequence. The characters are at ease with one another, making sly jabs at each other, and casually referencing the ten years that have gone by since Zombieland. But it's more than just references and in-jokes.

Zombieland: Double Tap relies heavily on Elvis Presley references, including an Elvis-themed hotel run by Nevada (Rosario Dawson), on a specific supporting character from the first movie, and on a pair of characters that hilariously mirror Tallahassee and Columbus, as well as a hippie commune called Babylon, named not for the great ancient city, but for the 1999 David Gray song.

The jokes are funny, and the zombie attacks are thrillingly kinetic and bloody, but the real key to the movie's success is its warmth, its dedication to this ill-fitting, but loving, lovable family. It's weirdly reminiscent of another successful R-rated comedy sequel about a surrogate family, Deadpool 2; the characters' most irritating little foibles turn out to become their greatest strengths.

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