4/10. A frustratingly unfunny sequel. Zombieland: Double Tap departs strikingly away from the witty humour from the original and strays sadly into a lifeless unfunny mess.
We know those words might seem shocking given the feelings from many in the theatre were in direct contrast to what experience dso let us explain exactly why in detail.
By far the most annoying aspect about Zombieland 2 was the introduction of one single character, Madison: the bumbling, brainless but “loveable” comic-relief. Now we understand that she is just one character, but she was a huge detrimental impact on the quality of jokes and her presence throughout the film really set the unfunny tone.
It’s rare that one character can drag down the whole film but since the script would so often rely on going back to her just so we could hear her say something extremely dumb that was apparently meant to be “funny”. Her presence reminded us so vividly of Chris Hemsworth’s character Kevin in Ghostbusters, who constantly would just say idiotic lines that were meant to come across as funny but weren’t.
Now we understand that humour is subjective and perhaps this could be your cup of tea, but for us, characters which work by being essentially dumb in a laughing at them kind of way, only work if they’re a witty dumb type of character.
Characters like Homer Simpson from The Simpsons, Eric Cartman from Southpark or Fry from Futurama are all examples of people that are inherently dumb by nature but have enough intelligence and wit to what they’re saying that makes them funny. They’re often quotable for lines that seem dumb, but have enough logic that actually makes them true (or at least half true), so when Homer says to Marge, “What’s the point in going out Marge? We’re just going to end up back here in anyways”, you know that’s funny because it’s simple but also true.
But when you have a character that just does dumb things like put on binoculars backwards and laughs at how small everything looks or mispronounces words in an unclever way, that to us is not funny. It’s just dumb and especially frustrating given how witty the original Zombieland was.
Truthfully, Madison’s presence at the beginning really set the tone for the rest of the film because it felt like even the rest of the characters weren’t as funny.
For some reason, Woody Harrelson’s character suddenly has roots back to Native American Indians and tries to pretend that he’s almost like one of them for a laugh. Emma Stone’s does almost exactly the same things as her character did in the original, which is to leave notes and run off again before having the most uninspiring change of heart at the end. And Jesse Eisenberg as Columbus has less witty lines of dialogue which really sums it up.
What surprised and disappointed us the most was how little new elements were added into this sequel given the potential that was shown throughout.
At the very beginning of the film, we’re told how over time the zombies have now evolved into different breeds with some being dumber but also cleverer. This was a great idea and we were looking forward to seeing how each of these would come into play in the story but literally after they’re introduced, it never comes up again.
Yes, we later see a different stronger breed of zombie but even the logic surrounding these zombies doesn’t make sense. One second they’re incredibly strong and can get shot twenty times without dying but then the next they can’t even break down simple barriers made from bicycle tyres? What?
We also thought we’d see more of what the remaining rules to surviving Zombieland were but instead, the film seemed to hammer us over the head by repeating the same rules we already know from the original. And when a scene does come to give us a brief look at some of the other rules, they’re delivered in a weird five-minute scene of just two characters conversing back and forth with what rules each has. What? How is this innovative storytelling?
Instead of just telling us the rules, which is boring and uninspiring, why not show us the rules in situations where they come up? That’s what the original did remember?
At this point, we could keep bringing up faults and more issues with the film but we know that by doing so it would seem like we’re being nitpicky and thus our review is somehow therefore invalid. Again, humour is subjective and the proof is ultimately in the pudding.
Perhaps by lowering your expectations you might enjoy the film more but we suggest that when you do see it, try to watch Zombieland 2 as its own thing rather than remembering fondly on the nostalgic original because you might just see it in a different light.
Don’t laugh just because Zombieland. Laugh if it’s actually funny.
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