Friday, September 17, 2004

 

Movie Review: Shaun of the Dead.

Hands down, Shaun of the Dead is the funniest movie I've seen yet this year.

In fact, I found it to be one of the funniest in the last several years. It's not Jackass funny-- probably more like Old School funny. But Shaun immediately earned a place on my DVD shelf once it becomes available.

Shaun of the Dead has lots of British "understatement humor," lots of gross-out humor, and just lots of "random musings" humor.

The plot, if there is one, focuses on our poor hero and all-around schlep Shaun. He works at a dead-end job, he doesn't get along with his step-father, his best friend and roommate Ed is a total slacker, his other roommate Pete is a dick. To top it all off, he's having trouble with his girlfriend Liz, who wants more than Shaun is motivated to offer. She's unhappy with how Shaun is satisfied with a life of drinking, Playstation, and all around nothingness-- and breaks up with him as a result.

Anyways, after establishing Shaun as our downtrodden hero desperate to win back the heart of his true love Liz, the movie slowly transforms from a setup used in a hundred romantic comedies (Kevin Smith's Mallrats comes immediately to mind) into a zombie film.

Yes, I said zombie film.

Now, Shaun of the Dead plays this all for laughs. The zombies start to take over the world, but all Shaun is really concerned with is winning Liz back; saving the lives of his friends and family is more of a bonus. In the process, Shaun gains a backbone, becomes a leader, and evolves into someone Liz can look up to.

Oh, and he kills lots of zombies. With a cricket bat. With a shotgun. With a shuttlecock pole. With a Sade LP record. Basically, with anything that's handy.

No one here is a great actor, but they're good enough, and even while they're saying funny things, they're all playing it straight. Shaun has some great lines, but it's his best friend Ed who steals the movie. The audience laughed so much I missed out on some lines, including one which I *think* just might be one of the most "absolutely wrong" lines of dialogue ever uttered (listen for it when Shaun speaks about his step-father to his mother in her kitchen).

I repeat: this is a romantic comedy, with zombies.

The zombie aspect pays homage to a score of classic zombie flicks. There are tongue-in-cheek references to all the George Romero movies (especially Dawn of the Dead), the Evil Dead flicks, and of course that OTHER British zombie flick, 28 Days Later. Plus, there's a great Reservoir Dogs bit thrown in for good measure.

It's not that slapsticky-- the zombies are pretty well-made up, and there's enough blood and gore to "keep it real." But the gore itself earns cheap giggles, especially in one scene late in the film that is simply so over-the-top disgusting that you can't help but laugh.

Anyways, the movie surpassed the low expectations I brought with me-- in fact, it exceeded them by a country mile. Unfortunately, I'm afraid my raves may set it up *too* much for you, the readers. So, ignore what I wrote, and go in relaxed, go in willing to have a goofy time, and you should enjoy Shaun of the Dead as much as I did.

Comments:
Hi Blogger I am on a quest looking for information on romantic things. I ran across your blog doing a search and thought I would stop by to see if you had any information. Hey, it is nice to see that other people like the same things I do. Anyway thanks for the read.
 
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