Don’t let the previews fool you—"Warm Bodies" is little more than a standard chick flick. Based on the novel by Isaac Marion, writer-director Jonathan Levine’s high concept romantic comedy is bogged down by excess mushiness. Those looking for a clever take on the zombie genre a la "Zombieland" will find "Warm Bodies" lacking in the originality department.
The picture takes place in a world where most of the population has been infected with a virus that transforms them into zombies. The undead protagonist, named “R,” spends his days wandering around an airport. His drab voice over informs the audience that he longs to be alive again. While attacking a group of human survivors, he spares the life of a beautiful young woman named Julie. Instead of eating her brains, R takes Julie back to his zombie community and they begin a courtship.
The acting in "Warm Bodies" is nothing special. Nicholas Hoult, who was so good ten years ago in "About a Boy," isn’t given much to do as R. He delivers his narration in a depressing monotone and speaks almost exclusively in grunts. While it’s understandable that R behaves this way because he is a zombie, Hoult’s portrayal is lifeless to the point of boredom. Teresa Palmer, who plays R’s voluptuous love interest, needs to take acting classes. She is as untalented as she is attractive. John Malkovich, one of the best performers working today, is completely wasted as Julie’s trigger happy father. Rob Corddry is the only cast member who manages to entertain. The former “Daily Show” correspondent has a few amusing one liners here and there.
If "Warm Bodies" had taken itself less seriously, it would have been a more enjoyable picture. Instead of capitalizing on its quirky premise, Levine’s script hits every romance cliché beat for beat. There are some humorous moments, but the movie is more focused on pulling at the viewer’s heartstrings than on making them laugh. A failed experiment, "Warm Bodies" is proof that the combination of zombies and sentimentality do not mix well together on film.