A tongue-in-cheek (or falling out) love story that takes itself just seriously enough to work. It very self-consciously emulates Edward Scissorhands (both in feel and casting), capturing that same, sweet level of romance and dark comedy. Whether you consider Hoult (A Single Man, Skins) the natural successor to Depp or not, is another question.
Hoult and Palmer (December Boys, and what Kristen Stewart wishes she was) make a sweet couple, playing well off one another. They build an unlikely alliance and relationship in a believable way in a short period of time. Enemy Mine comes to mind as a similar comparison in very different trappings. Supporting them, Corddry and Malkovich are fine, but also break the rhythms of the story with their own personalities. Only Tipton (Hung) really fits well into the mix while managing to still stand out.
I suppose it was inevitable that zombies would eventually become the newest metaphorical version of disaffected youth and numb society, taking the mantle from vampires, which are now well over-used. Warm Bodies joins various recent productions including The Fades, In the Flesh, Boy Eats Girl, just to name a very few, where zombies figure prominently.
Monsters, in general, as metaphor have been around for millennia. In the past they were threats to ensure compliance to mores and laws. Then they became the reflections of our inner-selves that we feared and were often unwilling to admit even existed. More recently in history, they have become physical metaphor for our distance from one another or even our own desires. While all of this is evident in many horror films, it is also rarely harped on such that you feel like you’re in a classroom. Warm Bodies, however, embraces the commentary at strategic points and runs with it successfully. In part, it is that level of self-awareness and intelligence that sets it apart.
Writer/Director Levine (50/50) balances the humor and the intensity of the story well, though I think the script and Hoult were both weaker than his previous cinematic offerings. And yet, I’d watch this again, so take that as a relative comment against a backdrop of dren out there. The weaknesses around script, delivery, and make-up (on hi-def, at least, the make-up didn’t quite work) are easily crushed by the overall sense and execution of the story.
Grab someone you care about, carefully so as to not pull off their arm, and settle in for a strange and romantic evening. You won’t be disappointed.