When R (Nicholas Hoult) meets Julie (Teresa Palmer) he feels something--other than the overwhelming desire to eat people--since he became a zombie. Julie is initially terrified of the zombie who has essentially kidnapped her but as she spends more time with him, she realizes that he's changing--his heart is literally beating again. But can two people truly change the world for the better? And who will believe that zombies can actually cure themselves?
Warm Bodies starts off with the main character R, delivering a sharp and witty internal monologue via voice over because he's a zombie (and zombies can't speak). Nicholas Hoult shows all the signs of an up-and-coming Hollywood superstar. Super-star girlfriend? Check. Role in comic book film series? Check. Leading man in zombie romantic comedy? Definitely check! Hoult brings a level of dedication and nuance that is quite impressive for such a young actor. Unable to use words for most of the film, Hoult effectively compensates in his voice overs and with a very physical performance on screen. Analeigh Tiptopn--most known for her stint on America's Next Top Model and the Steve Carell obsessed babysitter in Crazy, Stupid, Love.--is another welcome surprise. She brings a brightness and comedic timing to the movie that makes you wonder why she isn't R's love interest because--quite frankly--you can't take your eyes off her. Tipton easily outshines the leading lady of the film, Teresa Palmer. Palmer gives a adequate but forgettable performance. Although it wasn't entirely her fault. She wasn't given much to work with in the script.
Conversely, Tipton and Hoult's superior performances were largely aided by their sharp dialogue--thanks to writer, but also director, Jonathon Levine. Levine's dry sense of humor made regular appearances throughout the film but unfortunately it was not enough to support a plot as thin and unsubstantial as this. Much like Summit Entertainment's other paranormal love story (You might be vaguely familiar with it. It's a little movie called Twilight) Warm Bodies made the fatal mistake thinking that a movie can survive solely on the obsessive and slightly creepy teenage love between a human and someone longs to be human. This flaw was is most obvious in the last five minutes of the film--which seemed unapologetically lazy and quickly slapped together. The ending is over-simplistic and inherently contradictory to the main themes of the film. Talk about disappointing.
In conclusion, Warm Bodies is a funnier and less cheesy version of the first Twilight film. There are no sparkly vampires in this movie but be prepared for a handful of creepy zombies and one oddly adorable zombie. Warm Bodies begins with a bold and quirky concept but quickly transforms into a bland and unoriginal love story. It is a smart film that suffers from too many cliches...but at least it's funny.