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'Bodies' hits floor with romantic comedy twist

Implausible but quirky premise provides appropriate Valentine's Day date movie


Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 13:02

Warm Bodies

Photo courtesy Summt Entertainment

Nicholas Hoult as R falls in love with non-infected human Julie after killer her boyfriend.

It’s hard to call "Warm Bodies" a horror movie based solely on the principle that, despite being about zombies, isn’t very scary — nor does it really try to be. In fact, there’s very little in the way of blood or gore, which separates it from practically every zombie movie out there.

Instead, director Jonathan Levine relies on humor and a quirky love story to drive the plot along, and this approach manages to work most of the time.

R (Nicholas Hoult) stumbles around, moans a lot and kills people to eat their brains — typical zombie stuff. But as he wanders through death, pursuing a painful and lonely existence, he comes across a group of young non-infected humans, one of whom is named Julie (Teresa Palmer). He then does what any zombie does when he encounters a pretty girl — he falls in love with her — after killing her boyfriend and eating his brains, of course. As he does his best to protect her from harm, the two begin to show signs of feelings for each other. This causes R to slowly come back to life, and his transformation causes similar changes in the zombies around him. However, an elite group of skeletal zombies, which devour every living thing, catch onto R’s changes and become determined to hunt him and Julie down.

While the film tries to develop sincerity between its leads, it never seems to forget how completely implausible its premise is, which is perhaps why it isn’t half bad. It manages to convince viewers that R and Julie will find a way to be happy while constantly reminding the audience of the fact that they’ve succumbed to watching a romantic comedy about zombies. Though the grunting and shrugging gags get stale after a while, there are enough jokes and witty one-liners to carry the film through its credits, though I was disappointed that John Malkovich (Julie’s stoic father) never gets to show off his comedic chops like he does in other unconventional comedies like 2010's “Red.”

There are far better movies out in theaters right now, but if you’re in the mood for a quirky date movie leading
up to Valentine’s Day, you could do a
lot worse than “Warm Bodies.”

Grade: C+  

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