Friday, August 26, 2011
This second feature film effort from Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer (but not the same film's writers) is ostensibly an "original" comedy, but borrows heavily from the true case of a pizza delivery guy who got kidnapped by two crooks, strapped with a bomb and forced to go and rob a bank. In his case it was not a comedy at all, and the guy did die (the bomb was also strapped to his head, kind of a different and more fucked-up scenario this film wouldn't touch even if it could try). But for Fleischer and company, who needs to make it all dramatic? Or even make much sense in terms of plot?
The movie carries its moments, mostly through improvisation (or what would appear to be just going off on small tangents by actors like Danny McBride and Jesse Eisenberg, the latter the pizza guy who gets the bomb strapped to him by McBride and his co-hort). And there were even those few moments where I found myself laughing hard at the actors' repore, especially when Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari get into a good groove riffing off each other about, say, their foolishness in fucking each other's respective ex-girlfriends and/or sisters. And the actual bank robbery carries some real thrills (if capped by a mediocre car chase aided by some weak 80's car-chase parody).
Ultimately I couldn't get over how needlessly complicated the plot was in McBride's plot to knock off his father, played by Fred Ward (who actually steals his scenes completely as a crazed ex-Major who won the lottery), as a plot to make millions comes down to a pizza delivery boy. Perhaps if Elmore Leonard was brought in for a rewrite it could've been made brilliant. As it stands it's a stupid story perked up by a stupid series of comic-suspense set-pieces as Eisenberg and Anzari prepare for the robbery. For some the crazy hijinks will be enough. For me, it could have done a lot more, despite the principal cast members doing their best to bring it up to something better.