No More Orphans In Zombieland (Zombieland: Double Tap, 2019)

Zombieland_Double_Tap_PosterSo, I loved 2009’s Zombieland. I found it largely a clever and hilarious take on Zombie movies with a terrific cast.  Amazon tried to do a series based on the film, recasting the characters with lesser known performers and a rather blah pilot episode.  I eventually gave up on the idea of ever getting a sequel…and then last year, on the heels of director Ruben Fleisher’s successful but critically maligned Venom, it was announced that a sequel was in the works…and that it would have the central cast returning. But revisiting Zombieland ten years later feels like a risky proposition.

Probably one of the original’s most notable flaws is how it feels like a lot of ideas strung together without a central story. lots of really entertaining sketches.  The film still works, just maybe could have used a more centralizing story.

However, while the film begins feeling a bit the same, a cohesive tale and goal for the group comes together.  The film adds some very fun new characters, and the jokes really land a good 90% of the time.

I appreciate that they kept a lot of the first film’s visual identity and this film feels like a surprisingly natural follow up to the first. If you enjoyed the first Zombieland, I feel confident you will have a great time with Double Tap.

Why Ask Why? (Why Him, 2016)

why_him_posterWritten and Directed by Josh Hamburg (most notably the writer of all three Meet the Parents films) addresses a discussion a friend and I were having recently.  We were talking about films having familiar plots.  My take on this is that I do not generally care if a film has a plot point we “have seen before”. If it does it well?  I am not going to be annoyed by it.  There are only so many plots, and I cannot think of many films that told a tale that has previously unseen elements.  But there is a flip side to this.  A story that follows all the familiar points like a rigid map?  Rarely is it done well.

Which brings us to Why Him.  Like many comedies before it, we are treated to a tale of parents meeting their potential son-in-law and the resulting calamity.  Going in?  I wanted to like this film…almost desperately.  I mean, Bryan Cranston has proven himself as an actor almost always worth watching.  And both Megan Mullally and Keegan-Michael Key are gifted comedic performers.  James Franco is…well he plays some exaggerated form of James Franco in almost any film he is in…and this film is not much of a change there.

It feels like the film is trying very hard to seem unpredictable and edgy.  And yet it follows the rules of family conflict comedies so steadfastly that there is not doubt where the film is going to end.  You see it all coming from miles away.  There is no point where Why Him swerves right when you expected it to swerve left.

Are there times where I was amused?  I guess.  Were there any times where the movie surprised me…not a one.  This is not a smartly made dumb comedy.  This is an uninspired dumb comedy.

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