Basically: The definition of coasting.
Summary: The adventures of Tallahassee and Columbus continue in the United States, which is now completely overrun by zombies.
Since Succession ended its second season, I can’t rely on Brian Cox telling people to fuck off so I’ll take Woody Harrelson acting high (being high?) in his monster truck instead. Straight to the point, I don’t think this was as good or… creative or original as its predecessor and a lot of it seems by the book (make sure the gang breaks up and gets back together multiple times) and formulaic (Abigail Breslin is an adult now, so let’s make jokes dad jokes). There’s even the whole, “Oh no, loud noises and lights, we didn’t realize that will attract zombies.” I don’t mind following a template but when it starts to get checklisty, then I dock points- I should be invested enough in what’s going on to not notice (or care), be it the laughs, action, visuals, story, etc.
It’s possible that Breslin and Emma Stone had extremely limited schedules, as they pop in and out to lend to the disjointedness and excuses for those characters to not be around all the time, which leads to several location changes and cut scenes that make this feel “and now we have to show this, and now we have to go here to see this person.” For the most part, the movie is riding the chemistry of Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg, which isn’t bad but it’s also not great. They add some good variables to change things up, especially from new players Zoey Deutch and Thomas Middleditch (I keep calling him Tom Hiddleditch) even if their dialogues run a little long.
About half of comedy is callbacks for the majority of the movie- the movie takes its time to turn to the camera, wink, and ask if you remember how good that part was when it showed up the first time around. There were moments when I was thinking, “And what? I’ve already seen this.”
Aside from all the callbacks, a lot of it is straight-up improv, which is a hit or miss. It’s like they realized they wanted to do a ten-year reunion, came up with a few gags and concepts, and coasted on the rest. This second story lacks in the original’s strengths to tie a lot of moments and themes together- there aren’t really arcs in this so much as there are people getting from point A to B. The movie rests on your fondness for the first one to carry things through. That’s fine and all, but I’d rather watch something that doesn’t depend on the tailcoats of its predecessor to be mediocre, especially if the first movie didn’t need a sequel.