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Movie Review: 'Zombieland: Double Tap'

Back in June, after I saw Jim Jarmusch’s zombie comedy The Dead Don’t Die, I argued there didn’t need to be any more zombie movies. I knew there would be, and said as much, but even though it’s only been a few months, I’ve so far been proven distressingly correct.

Zombieland: Double Tap is the sequel to the actually pretty fun 2009 movie Zombieland. Well, not so much a sequel as a hollow retread.

This new one, if you can call it new, finds our heroes, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, and Abigail Breslin, in more or less the same situation, on the road in a world of zombies, although now some of those zombies are stronger or faster or smarter than they used to be. It’s some years later, but I can’t remember how many and it doesn’t matter.

Now, I will say I wasn’t bored, exactly, and the movie did give me a few chuckles. But the huge problem here is that Zombieland: Double Tap is extraordinarily lazy. It takes a small handful of the jokes from the first movie and essentially repeats them about 17 times each, with one extended sequence seemingly explicitly acknowledging how much they’re just cribbing from the original. And, if this tells you anything, a major new character has the one single character trait of being a dumb blonde. Seriously, that’s the joke. Over and over. In 2019.

What I don’t understand is why this happened. Zombieland really was a good time, and this movie has the same director and screenwriters, and they’ve had 10 years to come up with something new. Or even new-ish.

You don’t need Zombieland: Double Tap. Just watch the first one again. You might think you want to see these characters in a new situation or something, but again — it’s not new. It’s a barely-a-movie version of the same movie. They’ve got a couple copies of the original Zombieland at the library. And those are free.

Fletcher Powell has worked at KMUW since 2009 as a producer, reporter, and host. He's been the host of All Things Considered since 2012 and KMUW's movie critic since 2016. Fletcher is a member of the Critics Choice Association.