Zombieland was a surprise hit in 2009, popular enough that people speculated about a sequel, but the cast immediately blew up and got too busy to reunite. Until now, ten years later, and the gang is back together for Zombieland: Double Tap, a totally unnecessary sequel that looks stupid as hell but also totally awesome. Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin are back as The Cities, still knocking around post-apocalyptic America and now, apparently, living in the White House. At least, that is, until Little Rock gets kidnapped and the remaining Cities go on the road to find her. No one remembers Zombieland for the plot, so I appreciate Zombieland 2 going with the most basic Macguffin in the world to set the action in motion and exerting itself no further.
The magic of Zombieland is not its storytelling, it’s the ensemble. It’s the surprising chemistry of Harrelson, Stone, Eisenberg, and Breslin. It’s the dumb jokes and sight gags and how half the movie seems geared to let Emma Stone mug to camera. (No one gives better reactions than Emma Stone. She is a walking GIF.) All of these things are on display in the trailer, assuring that after ten years, Zombieland has not lost its magic. But since this is a sequel, there’s some new stuff, too. Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch are Harrelson and Eisenberg dopplegangers, respectively. Zoey Deutch is a new city, Madison—Zoey Deutch AND Emma Stone in a movie together? That’s like, weapons-grade charisma. And Rosario Dawson is here, too, because every sequel needs a dose of kickass. I don’t care what this movie is about, this is a great group of people to watch be funny, and I love that bit at the end with Wichita “seeing double”. Give me ninety minutes of that and I’m happy.
Of course, there is a lingering question: Can they top, or even just match, that Bill Murray cameo from the first movie? Will they even try? The smart thing would be to not even try, but sequels are rarely built for smart, so they’ll go for it. Who would be a bigger surprise than Bill Murray? George Clooney? The writers, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick went on to write Deadpool, so watch the secret celebrity cameo be Ryan Reynolds.