Aside from one truly inspired comic scenario involving Bill Murray, "Zombieland" is a flat horror spoof that wears out its welcome well before its abysmal third act gets started. In his role as "Columbus," one of the last surviving humans, Jesse Eisenberg further brands his casting type as Michael Cera's ("Youth in Revolt") main competition for the nerdy-teen-virgin leading guys that are in high demand these days (skip "Splinterheads"). Director Ruben Fleischer slathers on screenwriters Rhett Reese's and Paul Wernick's presentational voice-over narration from Columbus's perspective as a loner with a list of some 30 odd rules that have kept him alive--rules like, beware of bathrooms, always buckle up, and always shoot a zombie a second time in the head (a "Double tap") to ensure that he's really dead. Far from the canny social satire of George A. Romero's "Night of the Living Dead," and from the zany zombie movie homage of "Shaun of the Dead" (2004), "Zombieland" exists only to show zombies getting shot in the head, run over with SUVs, and generally murdered in fast and bloody ways. Columbus teams up with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), a zombie-killing pro, and the duo go on a zombie killing spree while meeting up with their duplicitous female rivals Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin). Watching a 12-year-old Abigail Breslin killing zombies with semi-automatic weapons doesn't do much for me, but I'm sure there are many audiences that will remark, "cool." Gratuitous violence never seemed so cheap.
Rated R. 81 mins. (C-) (Two Stars)