Greg Smith
Chris Nashawaty
August 27, 2014 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Life After Beth

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
91 minutes
Limited Release Date
08/15/14
performer
Dane DeHaan, Aubrey Plaza, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon
director
Jeff Baena
distributor
A24 Films
genre
Comedy

We gave it an B

I’d call writer-director Jeff Baena’s new zombie rom-com, Life After Beth, the best entry in the genre since 2004’s Shaun of the Dead, but the truth is there hasn’t been much competition. Aubrey Plaza, the deliriously deadpan comedian from Parks and Recreation and last year’s The To Do List, plays Beth Slocum, a high schooler who dies of a snakebite only to mysteriously rise from the grave as if nothing had happened. Her parents (John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon) and her mourning boyfriend (Dane DeHaan) are confused, but refuse to look a gift horse in the mouth — even if there’s something a bit off about their teenage Lazarus, namely her pinballing mood swings, new sweet tooth for smooth jazz, and decomposing flesh. The premise would make for a great Funny or Die video, but stretched out to feature length, it runs out of ideas pretty quickly. Still, Plaza is terrific. She commits so fully to her rabid, Romero-esque alter ego, she chews the movie up. B

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