Warm Bodies

February 10, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Posted in 2013 | Leave a comment
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The original title of this film was “Cold Bodies, Warm Hearts” before somebody somewhere in Hollywood decided it took too much effort to say.  This makes sense as a film’s title should never take more effort to say than the film took to make.  I had not expected much but, honestly, I expected more than I got.  This was a more than silly story of teenage girl meets teenage boy.  Teenage boy kills teenage girl’s boyfriend and eats his brain.  Teenage girl and teenage boy fall in love.   Along the way we are forced to sit through humor too obvious to be funny (let’s play Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart.”  Get it?), cloying sentiment that only an adolescent girl could love, preachy metaphors (just because they’re different doesn’t mean they’re bad.  Get it?), and enough plot inconsistencies to make even a lazy viewer crazy: zombies shuffle slowly, except when it’s convenient for them to move rapidly; it takes less than a day for the zombie and his captive to shuffle/walk to his home but takes them two days to drive back because we need time for some fun/silly/romantic road scenes; the zombie has managed to get his hands on a record player and a lot of vinyl, all at the airport where he lives.  It just goes on ridiculously.  No character has any believable motivations and most aren’t drawn enough for anyone to even care.  John Malkovich’s father character is particularly annoying and he seems utterly bored in the role.  The two leads are Nicholas Hoult (“About A Boy,” “A Single Man,” “X-Men: First Class”) and Teresa Palmer (“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” who seems hired primarily because she can look and act uncannily like Kristen Stewart).  They do a passing job of trying to create adolescent chemistry and if there are any laughs to be had they come from Hoult’s ability to portray the zombie lurching, blank stare, & mumbling inability to speak and teen romantic awkwardness as exactly the same thing, which, in a way, they are.  A slightly more biting take on this idea might have been very funny. This film was not.  Perhaps in retrospect, we will one day be able to look back on this decade and decide what it is in the American psyche right now that makes us want to redress all of our classic horror genres as teen romances.  In this way, we have molested vampires (“Twilight”), witches (the upcoming “Beautiful Creatures”) and zombies (oh, my!).  I suppose we could have a “Young Frankenstein” remake next (“Teen Frankenstein?”).  My friend, Jonathan, pointed out quite wisely that the new genre-mashup appears to be the fairy tale action film (eg “The Brother’s Grimm,” “Red Riding Hood,” the current “Hansel & Gretel,” and the upcoming “Jack, The Giant Slayer” ).  Could fairy tale-RomCom be far behind?  How about “Jack, The Giant Slayer, & Jill” or “Hansel & Gretel Sitting in a Tree?”  Boy, I can’t wait.


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