Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Life After Beth – Better After Some Thought

Runtime: 89 minutes
Release Date: July 15, 2014
Rating: R
Director: Jeff Baena

Zach doesn't know quite what to do with himself after learning that his girlfriend Beth died. While trying to cope with her passing, he starts spending a lot of time with her parents Maury and Geenie. They play games, talk about Beth, and generally just try to be there for each other. When he goes over to their house one day, he finds the door locked and they won't answer it even though he can see them. After gaining access to their home, he discovers that Beth is alive again.

Instead of her parents faking her death, he learns that Beth actually came back from the dead. Unfortunately, Beth thinks everything is fine and has no idea that she died, nor does she know that they actually broke up before her death. Zach tries to pretend that everything is fine between them, even as Beth goes off the deep end. She constantly tries to have sex with him, breaks through walls and exhibits other types of super strength, and even sets fire to a lifeguard stand at one time. Since he can't tell anyone that she's back from the dead, he has to find a way to play nice with his dead girlfriend at the same time that his own parents attempt to set him up with the pretty girl next door.

Life After Beth is a good movie, but only after you step back and give it some thought. When we first watched it, we all sat there for awhile with our WTF faces on. None of us were particularly fond of it, which was odd because we all love Aubrey Plaza. I turned all my friends onto Parks and Recreation, and I think I'm the only person who actually enjoyed the first season. After a few weeks though, we realized that we were constantly quoting the movie and bringing up scenes to make each other laugh.

The sad thing is that this is definitely a Plaza movie, but Plaza really isn't that funny in this one. The exception are the scenes at the very end when she's strapped to an oven and trying to walk, but you can see those moments in the trailer. The real standouts are all the background characters.

Molly Shannon is hysterical as Beth's mom, especially towards the end when she has no clue what is going on around here. John C. Reilly is also pretty damn funny as Beth's dad. Then you have Cheryl Hines and Paul Resier as Zach's parents. It's always nice to see Reiser pop up in something and actually get a few good lines.

I was also a big fan of Matthew Gray Gubler. He plays Zach's older brother who is obsessed with following the laws and keeping people safe. When he joins the local group tasked with stopping the zombie invasion, I couldn't stop laughing. Plus we get a fun little cameo from Gary Marshall when he comes back from the dead. Even Anna Kendrick turns up as the girl dating Zach. One of the best moments comes when Zach is trying to talk about Beth and she gets super confused because she thought his girlfriend was dead.

Life After Beth is a smart comedy/horror film, and I think it's the type of movie that requires multiple viewings.

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