You are what they eat.
It's rare that I find a movie that I feel somewhat bad about liking. I mean, at worst it should be a mediocre kids-are-zombies movie, and that should be amusement enough right? Then the trailer shows you all these jokes and you can't help get that Will Farrel movie vibe from it. Well, the best way to find out just how much you like something is to push on through it, so boot up that disc drive and let's take it for a spin.
We are treated to a very more-than-I-needed-to-see example of just what goes into chicken nuggets. Short story shorter, it's pretty gross looking stuff - and the infected nugget spat out the other end isn't much better looking. Steel your stomachs for the final destination, as we see a young'n in the cafeteria for lunch sinking her teeth right on in to the grossly gooey trash-disposal of a nugget. Now that that's over, let's wake up to our main character (as close to one as you get at any rate) waking up to his clock's radio and the entrance of his mom. He's no little kid though - this is a full grown novel-writing (or starting) man, and from the feedback his mom provides on his first draft we get the impression that maybe it shouldn't be his day job.
Anyways, off the man goes to the local school, where he's going to be a substitute teacher for a batch of kids in summer school while the English teacher is out. He meets a school crossing attendant who mistakes him for his shroom-dealer, and when trying to park gets blocked in by a PE teacher with a massive truck.After climbing out the back, he manages to get a glance at some of the kids on his way in (all of whom mostly seem rather detestable little brigands) before finally getting to the "acting" principles office. Here, his phone is confiscated and his room assigned, and off to the teachers lounge he goes. Inside he meets some of the staff - all rather eccentric characters in one way or another - including an old friend. Still, as fun as they all my be having, one can't put those kids off forever.
His idea for the class is to have one of the students read his first draft, then have the rest give him feedback on it - thankfully this process is interrupted by one of the kids pulling a chunk of hair and head-tissue off of the girl who ate the nasty nugget, who promptly does the zombie-like thing and jumps the kid and makes with the biting. On her way out after getting pulled off, she scratches the teach and makes off down the hallway, meanwhile our teach takes the other kid to the nurse. A recess period comes up, and then things really turn south as more and more of the kids start infecting each other - much to the horror of the now tripping crossing guard in his van, who witnesses the kids start turning on and eating the adults. Will it be able to be contained, will the adults get turned, will everyone die or live?
Effects are pretty well done here. For the most part, I'd wager it isn't too gore-filled - at least in comparison to most zombie flicks. Of course, most of those movies don't make me want to never eat a chicken nugget again either, but hey, it's zombie-light as far as the organs spilling out goes. Of course, this means most the effects are simply towards making the kids look more bloody, but by the time we get to make-shift weaponry everything is nice and cozy in the department. Some are used for a bit of comedy (or attempts at such), but it doesn't always hit the mark.
Comedy throughout this thing is something I expected to fall flat on it's face for me - a very "Farrel" effect. See, I know people that love those sorts of movies, find them hysterical - but I'm usually not one of those people. Color me surprised then when i actually did find myself laughing at some of the stupid moments put on film here, knowing full well just how stupid a joke it actually was. So when it comes to laughs, if you are more of a Talladega Nights kind of person you'll love it - although if your looking for more laughs per capita you may be more fond of going with Shuan of the Dead.
The plot goes as far as to facilitate it's desired effects. It pushes in some moments that are there for jokes - such as calling the actor who plays Frodo a hobbit - and at times has an almost meta reference of itself as a movie despite it being an in-character thing from what we are presented with on the characters. The characters themselves are about as cookie-cutter as you can get, but each manages to play their little shell of a stereotype to decent amounts of humor. Kids do a fine job acting, although that's kind of a redundant sentence when most of the "acting" is simply "running around like a bloodthirsty madman on crack cocaine" - which most kids normally have down pat anyways.
If Shaun of the Dead is the zombie-comedy equivalent of The Richard Petty Story, then this would be the Ballad of Ricky-Bobby. There is no reason I should be as entertained by this movie as I was, and yet for some dumb reason there I am laughing at it. It's something that won't become a "must see" for everyone, but most of us will know at least one or two people that certainly should watch it, because it plays right into their breed of comedy. The horror aspects are alright, with the twist on the 'science' behind how it works at least being an interesting divergence from the norm.