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IN SHORT: The only thing missing is a well. Read on, see the film and think about it. You'll understand soon enough. [Rated R for zombie-related violence and comic horror situations. 90 minutes]
On an earth where pesky anomalies like radioactive space dust has killed off all the pet life, what's a normal 1950s like household supposed to do when there's no purring pussy cat to stroke in the middle of the night. No barking doggie to watch over the kidlets of the household? Why, the answer is simple! Make due with what that pesky radioactive space dust has left behind. Lots of tireless, environmentally friendly zombies! Well, sure, there is that small problem about what to feed them but thanks to the wonders of modern science and the ZomCon corporation, the zombie wars are over and said z-men and women are fit to take their place in society! If they don't work out, well they can be reassigned! Then again, the real problem with zombies is that, just like a bad joke they keep coming back again and again and again and . . . before we belabor the point, let us just say that this comedic film Fido has pretty much killed the zombie genre movie forever.
Because it's funny. It is very funny and not in a "funny with gross bits" like Shaun of the Dead. More like funny in the "we've parodied 50s television every possible way but this one" way. Said parody works well for anyone who grew up when television wall all black and white, or who was raise in front of a TV rerunning episodes of Leave it to Beaver or Father Knows Best or anything of that era. Dad worked. Mom raised the kids. Minorities were nonexistent although occasionally (more like rarely) some would slip through in what would now be derided as racist stereotype occupations. So those writing term papers can substitute zombie for whatever minority you wish and go bother your professors. We prefer the laugh.
In the small town of Willard, post space dust that reanimated the dead; post the zombie-war ended thanks to the spectacular efforts of the ZomCon corporation, the subjugated zombies fill those jobs that -- and where have we heard this before -- hard working middle class people don't want to do. Delivering the mail. Tending to the elderly. Watching the children while the parental units build a solid middle class life. Or tending to the needs of lonely guys like Mr Theopolis (Tim Blake Nelson) a flat out loser who, since he can't get a date with a real live girl, makes due with . . . oh do we have to explain everything???
Middle class life (now) includes the keeping of a zombie, redefining the term "keeping up with the Joneses" for all time. Perky mom Helen Robinson (Carrie Ann Moss) is deep into that Joneses thing. Dad Bill (Dylan Baker) knows nothing good can come of this zombie thing -- and he's right, but the adoring wife will not listen to her loser hubby. The new neighbor across the street, the fabulously wealthy and influential Mr Bottoms (Henry Czerny), has six of 'em, which is his right as head of security for ZomCon. We should note that all Zombies wear collars that keep them under control. ZomCon maintains constant security over any whose collars fail or get disconnected. So nothing can possibly go wrong.
two, three, four . . .
So Mom goes out and gets one. Li'l Timmy Robinson (K'Sun Ray) doesn't care much either way about having a zombie but warms to the idea and decides to name his new best friend Fido (Billy Connolly). Unlike other zombies on the block, Fido is more than a mindless pet. Why there are times when you'd almost think....
HEY STOP THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [Darn publicist is pulling on my leash.]
Cranky's going to be as subtle as possible. Fido is a lot of fun to sit through, though some femmes in one of our screenings were griping that it was a "boy movie". Well, they can go see the Nancy Drew movie. More important, if you are old enough to remember black and white television in any of it earlier forms -- I don't have time to watch TVLand so I don't know if a particular classic is running on that cable channel -- towards the end of the film you are going to cut loose such a torrential laugh that you'll swear something along the lines of "I haven't laughed like that in years."
You will be saying it. Only we said it first.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Fido, he would have paid . . .
First Shaun of the Dead. Now Fido. As we've written, the zombie movie is dead. . . and we know what that means <vbg>
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