By: Holley Sinn
The romantic comedy genre has been terribly in need of a jolt of originality for as long as I've been watching romantic comedies. Perhaps "Warm Bodies" was derived from the supernatural romance dramas that have gone before it, but this film, written and directed by Jonathon Levine of "50/50" and "The Wackness" fame, takes a decidedly different approach to the relationship between the living and the undead. Clever, smart and lovable despite the main character's brain-eating activities, "Warm Bodies" is a perfect answer to the age old question, "what should we do for Valentine's Day besides eat a fancy, over-priced meal"?
"Warm Bodies" stars Nicholas Hoult as "R", a zombie in post-apocaleptic New York City where humans are the minority, and brain-eaters passively reign. "R", who cannot remember his full name, is desperate to maintain any shred of his former humanity, and his close encounter with Julie, played by Teresa Palmer, ignites a feeling in him that he thought he had forgotten. Having eaten Julie's boyfriend's brains, R gains important information about his crush that only fuels his desire to protect her. He wisks her away to his home in an abandoned airplane where the beautiful young woman and heartsick zombie bond over good vinyl and canned fruit.
The more time R and Julie spend together, the more human R seems to become. He slowly begins to gain physical sensation, senses hot and cold and feels emotional pain when Julie finally abandons him to return to her home within the city's protective walls built by her military father played by John Malkovich. R is not the only zombie beginning to regain his humanity. He leads a band of half-zombies to a secret entrance to the human compound, hoping to prove that zombies are not the enemy and can be healed. Met with adversaries in both the most progressed zombies called "bonies" because of their skeleton-like appearance and the human military, R and Julie must publicize their love for one another in order to chance the perception of the infected undead.
"Warm Bodies" is a delightful, cleverly written little "Romeo and Juliet" style story about love that transends perception and societal structure. Nicholas Hoult is incredibly lovable as "R", and Teresa Palmer is a bubblier, less angsty answer to Kristen Stewart who could be her older, brunette doppelganger. Minus a few rather stomach-turning moments of cannibalism, this film is a perfect date movie in that it will appeal equally to both the ladies and the fellas. It's a like a little undead hug and a happy jolt to even the coldest hearts.
"Warm Bodies" is rated PG-13 for some language and disturbing imagery, and it is now playing in theaters all over the bay area.