“Warm Bodies” staggers into a culture choked with zombies and supernatural teen romance and, thanks to good humor, solid writing and nice performances, makes a lot of the competition seem stiff by comparison. It even vaults a considerable gross-out that would normally make this apocalyptic teen love story difficult to stomach: the idea that Julie (Teresa Palmer) might fall in lust with the sentient corpse known as “R” (Nicholas Hoult). In this case, chemistry goes a long way.
Based on Isaac Marion's young adult novel, “Warm Bodies” takes most of its characters, conflicts and even a few names from William Shakespeare's “Romeo and Juliet.” Julie is the daughter of Grigio (John Malkovich), the leader of the human resistance against the zombie plague. After “R” saves Julie from having her brains consumed, she begins to warm to the idea that “R” and his fellow decaying stumblers might not be hopeless. In fact, the plague might be reversible.
Strong performances by the leads as well a good backup from Malkovich, Rob Corddry, Dave Franco and Analeigh Tipton keep “Warm Bodies” fresh, and writer-director Jonathan Levine tackles the pulp with gusto after excelling in more realistic pursuits such as “50/50” and “The Wackness.” It's a zom-rom-com that is easy to love.
— George Lang