Life Af­ter Beth

Undy­ing love

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Dvd & Blu-Ray -

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

2014 | 15 | Blu- ray/ DVD Direc­tor: Jeff Baena Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Dane De­Haan, Anna Ken­drick, Molly Shan­non, Ch­eryl Hines, Paul Reiser, Matthew Gray Gubler, John C Reilly

Don’t you just

hate the way any new zom­bie com­edy is in­evitably com­pared to Shaun Of The Dead? Surely a movie can be judged on its own terms! Well, sorry… but we’re about to do it again.

To be fair, there’s more rea­son to do so here than is of­ten the case. There are points of com­par­i­son be­tween Shaun and this lat­est zom­com – and not just the pun­ning use of Chris­tian names. Both have ro­man­tic el­e­ments; both make use of sub­ur­ban set­tings; both draw com­edy from awk­ward re­la­tion­ships with par­ents.

Dane “Green Goblin” De­Haan plays the griev­ing Zach, who’s be­wil­dered to dis­cover that his late girl­friend Beth ( Parks And Recre­ation’s Aubrey Plaza) has, im­pos­si­bly, re­turned to life. Beth’s mum and dad are keen to keep this “res­ur­rec­tion” un­der wraps, but this proves in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult, since she’s re­turned with in­tense ap­petites and su­per­hu­man strength…

Both De­Haan and Plaza are per­fectly suited to their roles, but some­how the film’s never quite as amus­ing as it should be. There are some win­ning sight gags – like a de­cay­ing Beth stum­bling about with a cooker strapped to her back, af­ter an un­suc­cess­ful at­tempt to sub­due her. But flashes of wit are few and far be­tween.

More crit­i­cally, it’s never re­ally that af­fect­ing – un­like Shaun, which stirred gen­uinely heart­break­ing mo­ments of tragedy into the mix. The even­tual rev­e­la­tion that the cou­ple’s re­la­tion­ship was far from per­fect feels like a rot­ten mis­cal­cu­la­tion, as does the ease with which Zach moves onto a new squeeze. If he doesn’t care all that deeply about Beth, why should we? It’s a great premise, but one that the screen­play doesn’t quite live up to.

Plaza, De­Haan and co- star Matthew Gray Gubler join writer/ direc­tor Jeff Baena for a com­men­tary. There’s also a Mak­ing Of ( 16 min­utes), and 20 min­utes of deleted scenes; some of th­ese fea­ture Ar­rested Devel­op­ment’s Alia Shawkat as a friend of Zach’s – a char­ac­ter com­pletely cut from the film. Ian Ber­ri­man Plaza bought Jeff Baena ( her boyfriend) he­li­copter lessons in case of a zom­bie apoca­lypse. But he didn’t take them.

Ram­say’s Kitchen Night­mares? Pah – noth­ing!

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