Zombieland is downright delightful. Somewhat surprisingly, a movie about a post-apocalyptic cross-country road trip through an undead nation converted almost entirely into legions of the cannibalistic undead is really about the simple pleasures in life: stuff getting destroyed in balletic slow motion, cowboy heroes wielding John Woo-style double hand cannons, and of course, Twinkies. Pair these timeless themes with solid zombie-centric humor, and you've got comedy-horror gold.
The cowboy hero in question (Woody Harrelson) goes by the name Tallahassee, since that's where he's headed when he runs into the main character (Jesse Eisenberg) -- whom we call Columbus -- on one of America's now countless abandoned highways. It's been a couple of months since your basic bite-borne rage virus swept the country, but there are still a few stragglers left uninfected, like Columbus, who gets by on the paranoid nature that once made him a shut-in, and Tallahassee, who gets by on pure badassery. Soon, they meet up with a couple of sisters, Wichita and Little Rock (Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin), and the quartet ends up driving west together.
Along the way, they engage in some intensely hilarious comedy dialogue -- stuff so clever and well orchestrated that it often transcends the audience's line between laughter and full-on glee. In fact, the humor could hold up even without the gloriously gratifying zombie action sequences, but the movie's handling of the ass-kicking and gore is top-notch anyway. Director Ruben Fleischer deserves major credit for clearly knowing intuitively how to work a double barrel shotgun, a Garden Weasel, and a zombified clown into a scene for maximum satisfaction. With such a solid grasp of both the wonderfully funny and the awesomely violent, it looks like Fleischer is wielding his own pair of action hero-style pistols, and we get the pleasure of watching him know just how to use them.