LIFE AFTER BETH
Director: Jeff Baena
Director: Jeff Baena
"Life After Beth" is a rom-zom-com that follows a young guy whose life turns upside down when his dead girlfriend rises from the grave and returns to him... wait a minute... haven't I seen this movie already? Well, kinda, because Joe Dante's latest movie "Burying the Ex" (Review here) has basically the same premise as the debut feature of Jeff Baena (who co-wrote the screenplay for David O. Russel's hilarious "I Heart Huckabees") - but where Dante fully succeeded with a charming and wonderfully amusing old-school comedy, Baena failed so miserably, it's almost absurd.
"Life After Beth" feels as if it was actually written and made as downright funny zombie satire, but then someone (probably Baena himself) came along, took out the funniest parts and replaced it with unnecessarily goofy/stupid/not-funny-at-all nonsense to make it look more... dunno. More awkward? More indie? More *gulp* ambitious? Nevermind, what remains is a fucking disaster. Shockingly unfunny, unbelievably dull and shallow as hell.
There are plenty of plot twists that are supposed to be surprising, but due to the fact that the whole thing is developed in such a lifeless and insipid way, you end up as braindead as the movie's main zombie Beth who's obsessed with attics(!) and smooth Jazz(!) for no frigging reason whatsoever. Oh btw: yes, this immensely weird zombie behavior was supposed to be amusing, but it's obviously NOT amusing at all. In fact, it's downright frustrating. Did I mention the insane amount of unanswered questions and illogical crap that doesn't make any fucking sense? Zombie outbreaks that suddenly stop for no apparent reason - why? Non-zombie has sex with a zombie and doesn't get infected - why? Etc. etc.
I loved the soundtrack which consists of rad stuff like Brian Eno's "Needle in the Camel's Eye" or Can's "Vitamin C", and I thought that Dane DeHaan's performance was awesome. As for the rest of the cast: Aubrey Plaza was not just clearly miscast, but also unbelievably unnerving. John C. Reilly felt ridiculously out of place. Molly Shannon was too over-the-top for my place. The rest... meh, nothing that left an impression on me.
All in all, a terrible, terrible film. In terms of zom-coms, only "Dating a Zombie" and "Zombies of Mass Destruction" are worse than this.