By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
I’m going to go out on a limb and say you’ve probably never seen a better romantic zombie comedy than “Warm Bodies.”
It’s got all the elements you want from this narrow genre: Laugh-out-loud moments, love at first sight and brain-eating zombies.
Our hero (Nicholas Hoult) can’t remember his name since he became a member of the undead. But he doesn’t need a name, since his zombie friend (Rod Corddry) couldn’t pronounce it anyway.
Something changes when our hero sees Julie (Teresa Palmer) for the first time and eats her boyfriend (Dave Franco). All of the sudden, he has reason to speak and to amend his eating habits.
He introduces himself as R, and an awkward courtship begins, while Julie is effectively held captive by the threat of all the surrounding zombies.
Director Jonathan Levine wrote the screenplay from the book by Isaac Marion, and the result is a clever piece of filmmaking that borrows from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.”
Their names are R and Julie, and their respective “houses” are at war. Her dad (John Malkovich) despises the “corpses.” The baddest of the bad zombies, known as “bonies,” crave for every human to be dead – walking or otherwise.
In another nod to Shakespeare, there’s a balcony scene, and I expected to hear Julie say, “O, R, R, where the heck are you, R?”
I don’t know how they pull it off, but Hoult and Palmer make this strange love affair work, as their characters find common ground in a messed-up, post-apocalyptic world.
Corddry disappears into the role of R’s mostly quiet sidekick, M. That’s a testament to his abilities as an actor and to the cleverness of the story.
The overall tone is tongue-in-cheek, but from start to finish, “Warm Bodies” delivers little bonus moments that are sometimes funny, sometimes poignant and sometimes creepy.
I don’t think this was ever meant to be an “A” film, but the cast and crew made the best “B” movie possible.
I give “Warm Bodies” a B plus.
It’s showing at Malcos in Tupelo, Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, as well as Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville.
Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.
“Roadkill” Bill Wizard 106.7. He gives “Warm Bodies” a B.”It’s very clever and fun.”