Movie of the Week: Zombie Playboy Takes Manhattan (15)



Lookout Manhattan it’s the Zombie Playboy!

By Jonathan Hatch

Directed by Todd Phillips. Starring Heath Ledger, Jennifer Garner, Russell Brand.When Warner Bros announced they’d be reanimating Heath Ledger’s corpse many thought he would continue along the same career path he was on before his tragic death. Ledger had received mass critical acclaim for his latter films, even winning a posthumous Oscar for The Dark Night. Few expected the newly resurrected star’s first film to be a zombiespolitation comedy romp.But what a zombiesploitation comedy romp! The film follows Barry (Ledger), a small time Zombie pimp who has high aspirations of making it to the big time.Along with his living best friend Chuck (Brand), Barry moves to a Manhattan loft, where he starts his Zombie pimp record label.There he meets entertainment lawyer Sandra (Garner) and has to choose between his zombie playboy lifestyle, or the love of just one women.Ledger is on sparkling form as the charismatic Barry.Sure, he occasionally lurches at his co-stars, trying to eat their brains, but Brand and Garner do a terrific job of making it look like ad-libbed banter.A standout scene shows Ledger gnawing on the arm of an extra.By the expression of the extra it is clearly not scripted.Without missing a beat Brand quips “well you can take the zombie out of the small town, but you can’t take the small town out of the zombie.” It doesn’t really make sense, but my word it’s funny.The film falls down with the sexual chemistry between Ledger and Garner.It’s hard to believe that Ledger would ever go for someone as unattractive as Garner, even if he is a reanimated corpse with skin peeling off his face.All in all, though, this is a terrifically fun film, and a welcome return to comedy for the late Mr. Ledger. Let’s hope for a sequel featuring a zombie Ashley Olson.