COMEDY; 1hr 34min
STARRING: Lupita Nyong’o, Josh Gad, Alexander England, Kat Stewart
The hills are alive: Nyong’o
As a kindergarten teacher in writer-director Abe Forsythe’s zombie farce, Nyong’o (Us) is so impossibly exotic it’s as if an alien species has plonked itself down in the homespun Australian bush. Her Miss Caroline (“One two three! Eyes on me!”) is as savvy as she’s stunning, and streets ahead of graceless failed muso Dave (England), whose five-year-old nephew Felix (Diesel La Torraca) is in her class.
Homeless after a vitriolic break-up, Dave is camped on the couch of his immeasurably more together sister, and Felix’s mother, Tess (Stewart), from which POV he contributes absolutely nothing. Roped into a school drop-off, he’s immediately besotted with sweet Miss C, masturbating to her class photo, sigh, then signing up for a school excursion to a local farm.
This isn’t Dave’s most tactical move. Not only is Miss Caroline engaged to be married, she’s a Taylor Swift fan, which Dave can’t abide. Plus, obnoxious American kiddie-TV star Teddy McGiggle (Gad, going way out) is filming his campy show at the farm. Capping all that by a mile, a botched experiment at a nearby US military facility has left the farm’s sylvan acres swarming with zombies. If this crossroads isn’t the making of deadbeat Dave, it’s set to be the death of him.
Whatever possessed her to sign up for such a dippy romp, Nyong’o figuratively and literally kills it, shepherding her short-arse flock and slaying the undead with radiant aplomb. Maybe she just felt like having some fun? Forsythe’s zombies are a lacklustre lot, and his screenplay wafts between the soupy and the absurd. But his petting zoo is winking fun with a big, beating heart, and only a zombie would argue with that.