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Shaun of the Dead

Starring Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield, Nick Frost, Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran, Nicola Cunningham, Peter Serafinowicz, Penelope Wilton
Screenplay by Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg
Directed by Edgar Wright
website: www.shaunofthedeadmovie.com

IN SHORT: A delightful surprise, as far as zombie comedies go <g>. [Rated R for Zombie Violence/Groe and Adult Language. 100 minutes]

Two weeks after we planted for a 'rip their guts out' zombie flick, which was Resident Evil Apocalypse -- we didn't need to do anything other than endorse it on the crankycritic.com home page 'cuz the audience for that genre is pretty specific -- we did so again. This time, however, the promise was of a comedy zombieflick . . . Think about that one. A comedy zombieflick. We didn't think it could be pulled off. Standard disembowelment(s) in the standard genreflick can be pretty hairy, but funny?

29 year old Shaun (Simon Pegg) manages a electronics store in the North End of London. He sells teevee equipment and cable hookups and deals with a staff of arrogant teen sales clerks. It's not a great job but it's a place to be each day. Evenings are spent at the Winchester Tavern with girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) and roommates Ed (Nick Frost) and Pete (Peter Serafinowicz). Pete is the other responsible one. Overweight and slovenly, Ed works and sweats hard all day over the slot machines and video games in the Winchester. Every one gets their pint or six and all is well with the world. With her birthday on the calendar, Shaun has decided to take Liz home to meet his mom. Barbara (Penelope Wilton) is a wee bit addled, but she's a sweet one. Her second husband, of seventeen years, Philip (Bill Nighy) loves her to death but Shaun still carries resentments against the man.

And Shaun goes to work and goes to the pub and makes arrangements to see mom and Liz and never notices that all his neighbors are shuffling about, tearing into each other with a hunger that befits the undead. He'll be more off the mark when he messes up that relationship with Liz. When Shaun attempts to fix things, her pals Dianne (Lucy Davis) and David (Dylan Moran) run interference to keep them apart.

And all the zombies are eating faces . . . when Ed and Shaun realize exactly what is going on, a plan is formulated to save their loved ones. Armed with a cricket bat, this dynamic duo are off to save the day.

Well, maybe not so dynamic.

The second disembowelment in Shaun of the Dead is still hairy for our taste. It's pretty funny, too. Director Edgar Wright also puts most of the potentially stomach turning stuff way in the background, though that may be the idea of co-screenwriter Simon Pegg. Left in the background, it's fairly funny, too. Equally balanced against the reduced gore, most of the film is the usual run away or else you'll get eaten stuff in a film that knows when to fold its tents and run end credits. That means it's just right, IMHO.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Shaun of the Dead , he would have paid . . .

$7.50

If you're planting with ears that have no problem with heavy British slang and accents -- and we thought we were pretty good but were wrong -- should boost the rating up close to $9. Those who do have problems, well, the rating is appropriate for this grand surprise of a movie. If we wanted to nitpick, we could. We don't so we won't. Shaun of the Dead is much better than the usual junk shoveled out at us on a weekly basis. Average, curious folk -- and after sitting for the 2 disembowelments, we're just about at average tolerance levels <vbg> -- should seek it out.

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