‘Zombieland: Double Tap’ brings back the gang for more of the same laughs

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‘Zombieland: Double Tap’ brings back the gang for more of the same laughs

Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, and Emma Stone in Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)

Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, and Emma Stone in Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)

Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, and Emma Stone in Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)

Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, and Emma Stone in Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)

Brian Lang, Film Critic

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It’s been a long 10 years since “Zombieland” debuted, but our favorite team of zombie killers has still got it. After making it out of the first film unscathed, redneck Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), nerdy Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), jaded Wichita (Emma Stone) and now teenager Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) are resting on their laurels in the White House itself. 

The team has become used to the zombies and have even developed nicknames about the danger-level of these roving monsters, but they’re not too concerned about this threat and seem to have it made.

Things start to get tense between the four friends as the youngest, Little Rock, is ready to get out of the nest and find people her age. Wichita and Columbus have been in a rut in their relationship that not even a proposal with the Hope Diamond can fix, and zombie-fiend Tallahassee is itching to find new creative ways to take out those pesky critters. It sounds like the perfect set-up for a sequel.

The most important thing to know about “Zombieland: Double Tap” is that there’s really no reason for it to exist. The first one was fun and felt like something original back in 2009, but this installment doesn’t have anything new to add or any fresh takes on the zombie-genre. Once you’ve come to terms with this though, it’s a lot of fun to watch.

After Little Rock takes off with her new hippie boyfriend, the team has to go on a road trip through the heartland to rescue her. They’re joined by the hilariously dumb and annoyingly perky Madison (played perfectly by Zoey Deutch), who’s eked out an existence in a frozen yogurt freezer. She’s ready to hit the road armed with only a hot pink can of mace and a chipper attitude that even Tallahassee can’t smother. As a new breed of zombie, dubbed the T-800, starts evolving, this unlikely crew has to rebuild themselves and fight to live another apocalyptic day.

The cast seems to find their characters in this sequel, and it’s always fun to see a group of Oscar nominees get to goof around onscreen. Jesse Eisenberg plays to his strengths as the neurotic rule-follower (although his list of rules has expanded from a modest 30 to somewhere in the 70s) while Woody Harrelson has the most fun driving monster trucks and impersonating Elvis with the redneck role of Tallahassee.  

Emma Stone keeps her dry, sarcastic humor rolling and it feels like she’s gone back in time to a pre-Oscar win version of herself. Abigail Breslin wanders in and out of the film as if the writers didn’t quite know how to handle her now that she’s grown up, but Zoey Deutch’s character, Madison, quickly fills her spot on the team with her blonde humor and zombie naivete. 

Similar to the first installment, “Zombieland: Double Tap” is riddled with multiple subplots that are strung together instead of a cohesive movie by itself. It keeps the story moving at a brisk pace, and more importantly, it allows for plenty of opportunities to fight zombies. Strangely though, for a movie with “zombie” in its title, “Zombieland: Double Tap” pushes the zombies to the back seat and decides to focus more on the character dynamics between the ragtag team for a majority of the movie.

The zingers fly relentlessly and the film holds up its R-rated reputation as the cast banters back and forth for 90 minutes. With jokes by the writers of Deadpool, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, and director Ruben Fleischer at the helm, it’s a slam-dunk comedy flick.

Any nitpicking is beside the point though, because at the end of the day, “Zombieland: Double Tap” comes out on top as a fun and very silly movie. It keeps the same energy of the first and proves that even after 10 years, this snarky “family” of zombie killers still has their spark. 

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