There are movies that stick with you, sometimes for a few days, and sometimes for your whole life. There are also movies that are entertaining while you're in the theater and then fade away. Warm Bodies is one of the latter. It's a bit like cotton candy. It tastes delicious, but disappears immediately and has no nutritional value.
An unspecified calamity has decimated the human race and left a shuffling horde of zombies wandering the wasteland. One of these zombies, known only as R (Nicholas Holt), meanders through an abandoned airport, occasionally exchanging grunts with a fellow zombie (Rob Corddry) and roaming in packs bent on eating survivors. Coming upon a group of humans, R feasts on the brains of Perry (Dave Franco) and assimilates his memories. When he comes upon Perry's girlfriend Julie (Teresa Palmer), long forgotten feelings begin to stir, and R chooses to protect Julie rather than eat her. Taking her back to his hideout, a derelict jetliner full or scavenged records and chotchkes, he begins to fall for Julie and slowly reclaims his humanity. Complicating matters is Julie's father Grigio (John Malkovich), the leader of the human resistance, whose instinct when encountering a zombie is to shoot first and ask questions later.
Director Jonathan Levine, adapting the novel by Isaac Marion, has a fun time skewering the zombie apocalypse sub-genre so popular these days. Most of the laughs come from R's deadpan inner monologue as he muses on life (or un-life) as a zombie. Another source of amusement comes from the dawning realization that the whole story is a thinly veiled reimagining of Romeo and Juliet. (Think about the names of the romantic leads. There you go.) There's even a balcony scene.
The actors are clearly having a good time with the material, particularly Malkovich, who, despite being a fantastic actor, never seems to be happier than when he's chewing the scenery with relish. Hoult and Palmer have obvious chemistry, and Hoult's gradual transformation from zombiedom is both touching and amusing. There are moments of real emotion in the film, and you understand why the director of 50/50 was right for this material.
I had my problems with the movie. It starts to drag in the third act, and the Boneys, skeletal zombies that threaten R and his brethren as well as the humans, are another example of bad CG run amok. These are small complaints, and though the film didn't leave a overly lasting impression, it was a passably enjoyable way to spend two hours. There are worse things to say about a movie.