A few years ago, I was a member of a terrific improvisational comedy group called Comedysportz. Established in America (Manchester, England, has the only non-US team, and I was the token Yank), it consists of performers competing against each other in family-friendly, Whose Line Is It Anyway-style games based on suggestions from the audience (“You’re a Scottish Hitler flirting with a duck, in the style of a Disney musical…”). We would frequently get compliments about how quick we seem to think on our collective feet. And we would smile and nod and thank them – but not say how many hours we would spend off-stage, practising improve games, helping us to do that on-our-feet thinking. Those many hours of preparation and practice made our hour on stage look easy.
Because that’s what good artists do: they make the very difficult look very easy. And if you’re smart, you see that. But if you’re not so smart, you think, “That’s easy. Anyone could do it.” That’s why TV talent shows are filled with hopeless contestants fuelled by worthless compliments from their families but who haven’t a chance in hell of fulfilling their dreams of fame and fortune.
All of the arts are like that, including comedy Especially comedy. You see, you can watch a bad drama, a bad horror, a bad science fiction, a bad war movie, and there’s usually still some measure of entertainment to be had. But a bad comedy? There’s nowhere to go when you’re sitting there listening to unfunny jokes told by bad actors.
Readers at Anythinghorror know about the Asylum. They make quick, cheap films, mockbusters and monster movies. I have no problem with that. Not everyone needs to be multi-talented; I don’t go to Kentucky Fried Chicken for their phyllo-wrapped halibut fillets with lemon scallion sauce. And what the Asylum offers is what a lot of people like and want. They don’t need to branch out into other genres.
And yet, they came up with THE COED AND THE ZOMBIE STONER.
It opens promisingly enough: in the midst of an apparent zombie attack, as two naked girls rush into their sorority house and lock the doors behind them. However, the head of the sorority, Bambi (Jamie Noel, HANGOVER II), is having none of it –this is supposed to be the most popular sorority on campus, after all! – and the naked girls, distracted by shiny things, don’t tell her that the rowdy characters outside are flesh eaters, until it’s too late.
Then we get a flashback, with a caption: “28 Days Earlier…”
Hope you enjoyed that gag, because it’s probably the wittiest bit in the movie. Seriously.
We focus on Chrissy (Catherine Annette, SUPER SHARK), a nerdy girl (you know she’s a nerd because she wears glasses), who’s gorgeous and intelligent but somehow can’t get or keep a boyfriend (Bambi’s just stolen her latest one). And now Bambi threatens her and the other girls without boyfriends (despite all being gorgeous) that if they don’t find boyfriends from the nearby fraternity, ZBE (geddit?), then they’ll; be kicked out of the sorority and lose their scholarships. Wait, what? WHAT? In what universe does this happen?
Even if those were the rules in this Bizarro Universe, Chrissy is a genius, who can whip up cures for herpes sores as well as aerosol sprays to deliver marijuana highs more efficiently – the world is this girl’s proverbial oyster, so scholarships and employment would not be an issue. However, while working in the lab late one night, her eyes beheld an eerie sight: a boy! He’s mute, he’s a little worse for wear, and he looks like he might wanna take a bite out of her, but what the hell, nobody’s perfect.
As her mentor Dr Avon (Louis Dezseran, who really, *really* wants to be Christopher Lloyd) explains, this is Rigo (Grant O’Connell), a former protégé of his from the 1980s, who got accidentally stuck in his Zombie Making Machine (a cardboard prop. Seriously, it’s made of cardboard. WTF?) when he smoked a joint and thought it was a shower stall. Really? I didn’t think that’s what marijuana did to you; how do potheads manage to successfully order pizzas? Did the writer get his knowledge of weed from REEFER MADNESS?
Anyway, Rigo has been hanging around ever since, and regular tokes from the Mary Jane suppress his aggression and keep him from munching on folk (okay, admittedly that’s a nifty idea). And Chrissy decides to pass him off as her new boyfriend, getting him enrolled in the fraternity and going through a rom-com montage with him (which includes a sex scene where she – thankfully out of shot – accidentally pulls off his knob, but fortunately somehow manages to fit it back on again). But after they get voted Cutest Couple, Chrissy’s ex-boyfriend, on orders from Bambi, gets Rigo worked up enough to start biting, and the zombie plague spreads across the campus– can Chrissy, Rigo, Dr Avon and their friends stop it?
Oh God this was a bad movie. Not So Bad It’s Good but So Bad It’s Bad. I don’t know writer Scotty Mullen, but I’m assuming he’s a twelve-year-old boy who loves the idea of boobs and weed, without ever having had actual contact with either. The level of humour makes Benny Hill look like Anton Chekhov.
The zombies are barely different from their normal selves, still playing computer games, ogling breasts, playing basketball (albeit with heads) and generally acting like assholes. People do get their heads ripped off (via fake CGI) and get them attached to other bodies, and chase each other making cartoon noises as they fall down. Anyone looking for a zombie film where the zombies are actual threats best look elsewhere.
Look, I know it’s meant to be a dopey stoner comedy, but you can still do that with a level of sophistication and intelligence that engenders praise and repeated viewing; none of that is in evidence here. It doesn’t even venture that much into tastelessness; I can dig gross out comedy as well as the next guy, but this was just lame! Even if it was an excuse for nudity and blood, both are pretty much fake here (the two girls who spend most of the time running around nude don’t, well, *look* nude. They have hairless, Barbie Doll bodies, and about as arousing as an undressed mannequin.
Does the movie have any redeeming qualities? Well, it’s competently filmed, and the actors do what they can with what they have (I feel like the parent desperate to find a compliment for my kid’s shitty third-grade art project: “I loved your choice of macaroni, sweetie.”). It doesn’t stick around too long, although there seems to be far too many subplots for such a shallow movie, including Chrissy getting turned off by Rigo, not because he’s dead but because he’s French; girlfriend, by the insane standards of this movie you’re fugly, so you can’t afford to be choosy.
I want to hate this movie more, but I can’t, because I like the Asylum, I like their output and I know they can do better. Just get a decent writer next time, and don’t do crappy CGI effects.
Director: Glenn Miller
Plot: 1 out of 5 stars
Gore: 2 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 2 out of 5 brains