Life After Beth

Rated: R

          I’d like to tell you about the 2014 zombie-rom-com of the year (if there is such a thing), Life After Beth. In the land of Hollywood it seems (especially over the last 10 years or so) that zombies have staying power. It also seems that everyone has different ideas of what zombies should be. These days they can be fast moving, or slow; mentally slow, totally capable or brain-dead animals. No matter the interpretation, there are certainly plenty of zombie films to choose from. I am Legend, 28 Days Later and World War Z are all “zombie apocalypse” type horror films, while Life After Beth, Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland and Warm Bodies are zombie-rom-coms. There’s even a slew of TV shows that at the very least include zombies, such as The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. At this point in time I have mixed feelings on the phenomenon that zombies have become. I’m always up for a good zombie flick, but at the same time I wonder when the fascination will end; maybe soon, maybe never. Either way, one thing is for sure: in the meantime, zombies = big bucks in Hollywood!
Life After Beth pulled me in for a couple of reasons. 1: I love Aubrey Plaza from NBC’s Parks and Rec, and I also love John c. Reilly. They’re both hilarious and usually anything they’re in is worth seeing at least once. 2: The premise was too funny to pass up. It goes something like this: After the unexpected death of his girlfriend Beth, Zach is devastated. To help him through his grief, Beth’s parents invite him to visit any time he’d like. But when he shows up at their house to discover Beth is back, he makes it his mission to do all of the things they never got to do the first time around. The newly resurrected Beth has a few more quirks than Zach remembers though, perhaps even more than love can overcome. I mean, who wouldn’t see the comedic potential in that?
        My only problem with this movie is that there are too many unanswered, kind of important to the plot type questions left unanswered. I certainly didn’t expect
Life After Beth to be a deep thinker by any means when I sat down to watch it, I just wanted a little more basic knowledge. For example, it’s never explained how or why Beth manages to come back to life. There’s no explanation of her super strength or violent outbursts and why does easy listening jazz calm her down? There are a few more questions that left me hanging as well, but I don’t want to spoil it for you.
        All of that’s not to say that I didn’t like this movie, because I did. It’s just that writer/director Jeff Baena’s other work seemed far more thought out and well put together. The only other film he’s known for at the moment is
I Heart Huckabees. That film is deep, a little hard to keep track of (in a good way), engaging and artistic. I’ve seen it many times and always notice something new. I Heart Huckabees is the type of work that probably took years to write. Life After Beth seems a little more like it was thrown together in a weekend or less. Don’t let that detour you from seeing it though, it is very funny and entertaining. Just keep in mind to take it with a grain of salt.

Life After Beth is rated R, was written and directed by Jeff Baena and stars Aubrey Plaza, Dane Dehaan, John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon. It’s available now on Blu Ray, DVD and digital download.