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Zombieland: Tongue-in-bloody-cheek

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What's with this unlikely epidemic of good zombie flicks? From 28 Days Later (and its sequel) to the regional shorts featured in last fall's George Romero event here in Charlotte, there have been approximately a dozen zombie yarns in this decade alone worthy of the critical accolades hurled their way. Now here's another one. The blood flows freely in this gonzo horror tale, but, more importantly, so do the laughs. And while the humor may be frosty around the edges, it's never downright mean-spirited, thanks in part to a director (Ruben Fleischer) with a light touch, two screenwriters (Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick) who have obviously done their zombie-film homework, and four actors (five, if you include the A-lister who turns up in a crowd-pleasing cameo) who remain ingratiating throughout. Jesse Eisenberg, giving up Adventureland for Zombieland, plays the lovably geeky Columbus, while Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin are savvy survivalist sisters Wichita and Little Rock. Yet it's Woody Harrelson, all rolling thunder as kick-ass cowboy Tallahassee, who makes the biggest impact. In a wild and wide-eyed performance, he stops just short of completely chewing the scenery -- even the zombies aren't capable of matching his ferocious bite.  ***

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