A decade after the original film might be a bit too late for a sequel to a movie that didn't exactly cry out for one. But when the results are this enjoyable, who am I to argue?
Zombieland: Double Tap is absolutely inessential, mostly a retread of the original, better film. But it introduces enough stellar new characters and keeps the laughs coming at such a steady clip that it ends up being one of the more enjoyable films of the year. It takes a bit to get going, as our foursome takes up residence in the White House and settles into a mundane routine. But once Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) sets out on her own and picks up hippie musician Berkeley (Avan Jogia), the film puts the pedal to the medal as the rest of the group tries to catch up with her.
The best of the new characters is definitely Madison, played with a wink by Zoey Deutch. She's a stereotypical dumb blonde, but also clever enough to have survived for a decade with zombies running around. (She mostly spent her days hiding in the industrial freezer at Pinkberry.) Her arrival immediately puts tension between Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) and Wichita (Emma Stone), and gives Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) a new person to hurl insults towards. The de facto leader himself also gets a love interest in Nevada (Rosario Dawson). It's an odd case where two charming screen presences actually have zero chemistry together. Their relationship is the weakest part of the film.
The only new wrinkle is that some of the zombies are harder to kill than previous incarnations. They're closer to the fast zombies of 28 Days Later and the Dawn of the Dead remake (which gets name-checked) and dubbed T-800s (Terminator 2 also gets referenced). Otherwise, it's the same winning formula as the original. In one memorable scene, Tallahassee and Columbus meet their doppelgangers, played by Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch, respectively. The latter's resemblance is particularly uncanny, and their nerdy bonding plays out in contrast to the dick-swinging between Tallahassee and his rival.
There are many rules for surviving Zombieland, but there's only one rule for this sequel: If you enjoyed the first film, you'll find plenty to like here. If you didn't, you won't. This is basically the original, jacked up on Mountain Dew Code Red and sporting monster truck tires.