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Review: Burying The Ex

Burying The Ex
06.18.2015
5 10
 

PLOT: Max (Anton Yelchin) has a problem. He wants to break up with his overbearing girlfriend Evelyn (Ashley Greene) so he can date his dream girl, Olivia (Alexandra Daddario). Easier said than done when your girlfriend is a zombie!

REVIEW: Ah the zombie rom-com. What once seemed like a far-out, bonkers idea pre-SHAUN OF THE DEAD has become a genre unto itself with movies like WARM BODIES, LIFE AFTER BETH and now this, BURYING THE EX. While it’s certainly a premise that’s been milked to death, BURYING THE EX demands serious genre attention based on the fact that it’s directed by the one and only Joe Dante.

 

To fan boys of a certain age, Dante is a guy on the Spielberg/Lucas level on the basis of how much his films defined the formative movie-going experiences for children of the eighties. GREMLINS stands as a full-on classic, and other movies like the much-maligned sequel GREMLINS 2: THE NEW BATCH, THE BURBS’ and especially INNERSPACE deserve to be mentioned alongside the Amblin classics of that era. Dante hasn’t done much in the way of features lately, with THE HOLE 3D being fairly obscure, but boasting a hip-cast and a commercial premise BURYING THE EX should have been a great comeback for the still-solid auteur. Should have been.

BURYING THE EX has a lot going for it, but on the whole the movie comes up short as both a comedy and a horror flick. On the plus side, the cast is uniformly game. Anton Yelchin, while still not quite a leading man, is a likable protagonist, and if you’re going to have any actor playing a horror nerd who still manages to have drop-dead gorgeous ladies fighting over him, he’s the guy. He works in the part. Arguably, so does Ashley Greene. While too cartoonishly uptight in the early non-zombie part of the film, she seems to be having fun especially once Evelyn becomes a zombie, and the fact that she’s clearly giving it her all makes a world of difference. As for the drop-dead gorgeous Alexandra Daddario, she’s always excellent and she gives Olivia tons of warmth and has good chemistry with Yelchin.

As good as everyone is though, the material is way too thin. Evelyn is walking cliché, and some degree of humanity would have gone a long way towards giving the film a little heart. Similarly, Daddario is too much of a dream girl/fantasy figure. Something should have been done to make Olivia seem grounded, but she’s so much of a match with Yelchin’s Max that it’s just too convenient. I get that’s she’s idealized, but she’s so perfect she doesn’t seem human, with her sharing all of Max’s interests and hobbies, and even willing to help bankroll a shop he wants to open.

 

It’s this two-dimensionality that sadly does the film in. Another character that’s a walking cliché is Oliver Cooper (PROJECT X) as Yelchin’s slovenly, douchebag buddy who – naturally – is a can’t miss ladies’ man. Like everyone else, he’s a cartoon.

BURYING THE EX also fails as horror. While it’s obvious that Dante’s going for a light, comedic vibe there’s absolutely no gore or scares until the last twenty minutes, and when it does come it’s so mild that it feels like an afterthought. It’s too bad to see Dante doing something so generic as there are still shreds of his personality/past work that leak through, including Max’s devotion to Val Lewton and a cameo by the great Dick Miller (it’s not a Joe Dante movie without him).

While I hesitate to call this a truly bad film as it’s actually slightly above-average for the often atrocious genre offerings we find on VOD, it’s still a huge disappointment considering Dante’s credits. While it moves fast and is at least never dull, BURYING THE EX is still a disappointing comeback although I have no doubt that given the right material Joe Dante can still knock it out of the park. I hope he gets the opportunity he deserves.

Source: JoBlo.com

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