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Sundance review: ‘Life After Beth’

First Published      Last Updated Jan 23 2014 05:06 pm

"Life After Beth"

U.S. Dramatic

*** (three stars)

Aubrey Plaza's immense talent for deadpan comic attitude hits a dizzying new height in the zombie comedy "Life After Beth." Plaza plays Beth, a teen whose sudden death shocks both her parents (John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon) and her boyfriend Zach (Dane DeHaan). They are shocked even further when Beth suddenly reappears, seemingly alive but a little bit off -- with memory problems, mood swings, superhuman strength and a sensual response to smooth jazz. Soon Zach must decide whether fending off a zombie apocalypse is worth losing his girlfriend again. Writer-director Jeff Baena makes a hash of zombie lore, but his plot has twists that are often funny and rather sweet. Plaza ("Parks & Recreation") is hilarious, as the undead Beth gradually transforms from mildly out-of-it to wildly carnivorous.

-- Sean P. Means

"Life After Beth" screens again at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival: Thursday at 12:15 p.m. at the Eccles Theatre, Park City; Friday at 1 p.m. at the Redstone Cinema 2, Park City.