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Cinema

No Brains Please, We’re British.

Not to beat a dead horse, but Shaun (Simon Pegg of Spaced) is having a bad go of it. He’s a working stiff killing time at a dead-end job. His relationship with his long-term girlfriend — who has decided he’s a deathly bore — has given up the ghost. His patience with his deadbeat flatmate is on its last legs. And, just as all his hopes for this world seem to have gone six feet under, the rest of the neighborhood starts acting rather strangely…

A friend of mine saw the trailer for Shaun of the Dead and noted it looked like a zombie movie written by The Kinks. That’s actually a pretty good shorthand for this wry, witty film, although it eschews Ray Davies-like bitterness for a romantic comedy sweet that, for the most part, fits quite well. In fact, for the first hour or so, Shaun of the Dead is a total gas, particularly as Shaun and his couch-potato roommate Ed (Nick Frost) verrry slowly get wise to the shambling undead amidst them.

The only missteps in Shaun of the Dead occur in the last thirty minutes or so, right about the time Queen blares on the Winchester’s jukebox and, soon thereafter, when our heroes find themselves embroiled in an unlikely Mexican Standoff. For one, the film’s tone falls off its comic-horror razor’s edge and veers a little too abruptly into the standard zombie tropes. More problematic, all of the characters we’ve been following start making stupid decisions which can’t be explained by the duress of their situation. (Fortunately, the film finds its footing again in the closing scenes.)

Despite these small lapses, though, Shaun of the Dead is a fall fanboy film treat, filled to the brim with quality dry Brit humour. Whatsmore, Shaun is particularly fun for both Romero fans (“We’re coming to get you, Barbara!”) and Anglophiles (As Shaun and Ed try to decide which records to use as Zombie Decapitators: “The Stone Roses?” “No!” “Second Coming?” “I liked it!”) In fact, I was previously thinking of picking up a grey hoodie and channeling Donnie Darko this Halloween, but perhaps a Shaun-like goatee and nametag might be the way to go…

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