Entertainment Entertainment Movies

'Warm Bodies' review: A nice, caring zom-com

*** (out of four)

Picture a zombie shuffling around a post-apocalyptic society, mumbling not “Brainssssss,” but “Heartsssss.” Not because he prefers to eat hearts, but because he wants to revive his own.

In writer-director Jonathan Levine’s (“50/50”) sweet, tame horror comedy “Warm Bodies,” R (Nicholas Hoult) never mutters about the body parts that he favors or needs to eat to stay alive. Usually referred to as a living corpse rather than a zombie, R clings to tiny drops of humanity more than the other pale-faced undead around him, including his best friend M (Rob Corddry), whose conversational abilities barely extend beyond grunting.

When R spots the beautiful Julie (Teresa Palmer) and saves her life, he’s rejuvenated. Sure, she’s scared he’ll attack her and isn’t thrilled he killed her boyfriend Perry (Dave Franco). He ate Perry’s brain and absorbed his memories, thus learning about some of Julie’s feelings and experiences.

Julie sees more in R than his unsettling, supposedly unlovable appearance, though. “Keep. Safe,” he promises her, and she gradually trusts he will. When they get separated and Julie misses R, the affectionate rapport between Palmer and Hoult ensures that we believe something like love can exist between a human and an, um, ex-human. Whether this could, as progressively happens in the film, invigorate the humanity in R’s colleagues requires romanticism I’m fully willing to embrace.

Somewhat ironically, this zombie tale has trouble with movement. Heavy on voiceover early on, “Warm Bodies” never quite takes off, registering closer to “nice” than “fun.” It pales compared to the juiced-up entertainment of “Zombieland” or the we-are-all-walking-dead satire of “Shaun of the Dead.” Adapting Isaac Marion’s novel, Levine nods to “Romeo and Juliet” and “Beauty and the Beast” but doesn’t get too bogged down in classic references.

At heart, the funny, endearing “Bodies” chronicles an awkward, lonely guy with a crush and a determination not to seem creepy. Most (currently or formerly living) people likely have felt that way at one point, in pursuit of a love that, literally or not, feels like it could change the world.
 

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

 

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.

 

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Grateful Dead drummer dishes dirt, drug dependency in new book

    Grateful Dead drummer dishes dirt, drug dependency in new book

    As a founding member of the Grateful Dead, Bill Kreutzmann watched the world change from behind his drum kit, shoveling coal in the wildly tribal rhythm section as the Dead went from San Francisco underground curio to ground-breaking indie outfit, then progenitor of the improvisation-based rock...

  • Book comes out ahead of Grateful Dead farewell concerts in Chicago this weekend

    Book comes out ahead of Grateful Dead farewell concerts in Chicago this weekend

    The three clichés that color every good rock star story is “sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll." For the Grateful Dead, the trailblazing rock band known for its improvisational style, revelatory live shows and dedicated fanbase, there was that and so much more.

  • 10 best movies of 2015 so far

    10 best movies of 2015 so far

    The year’s half-over! How did that happen? No idea. With six months of a good year of movies in the books, let’s see how the Top 10 list is looking, with a quote from each respective review. Note: There are a few I’ve seen that I really like that haven’t yet opened in Chicago, and those aren’t...

  • If you make less than $50,440, proposal could increase overtime pay

    If you make less than $50,440, proposal could increase overtime pay

    Nearly 5 million more Americans would qualify for overtime pay under new rules proposed Tuesday by the Obama administration, a long-anticipated move expected to affect a broad swath of salaried employees from store managers to social workers to restaurant shift supervisors.

  • Chicago's minimum wage increase attracting workers to city

    Chicago's minimum wage increase attracting workers to city

    Unlike previous summers, UniStaff is experiencing a spike in job applicants at its Little Village location, a trend the branch manager says is tied to the city's minimum wage increase to $10 per hour beginning Wednesday.

  • 'The Bachelorette' episode 7 recap: How many meltdowns can Shawn have in one week?

    'The Bachelorette' episode 7 recap: How many meltdowns can Shawn have in one week?

    Welcome to RedEye’s coverage of “The Bachelorette,” arguably the most misogynistic show on television! The format is pretty simple: Five women of RedEye each drafted five of the 25 competing men. Everyone gets one point for every man who gets through each week. If you ever want your daughter to...

Comments
Loading