Young romance can be tough to navigate -- especially when one of them is undead.  Life after Beth takes on the tribulations of a rocky relationship, tossing in zombies just for fun.

When we meet Zach (Dane DeHaan), he's in mourning.  His girlfriend Beth Slocum (Aubrey Plaza) had been hiking alone when Zach didn't want to go with her, and she got bitten by a snake and died.  Zack's gloom isn't helped by his parents or militaristic brother Kyle (Matthew Gray Gubler), so he spends more and more time hanging out with Beth's parents.  Geenie Slocum (Molly Shannon) is generally positive, while Maury Slocum (John C. Reilly) plays chess and shared weed with Zach.  When Zach confides that he and Beth were having problems, Maury advises him to focus on the good, not the ending.

Zach is surprised when Maury and Geenie stop taking his calls.  Investigating, Zach is more surprised to find... Beth!  At first Zach assumes that her family faked her death, but the truth is stranger:A few days after her funeral, Beth dug her way out of her grave and returned home.  Zach is concerned that Beth might be a zombie, but Maury is thrilled that she's been resurrected ("Like Jesus!") and wants to keep her hidden,
Eventually Zach comes around, seeing this as a chance to do everything with Beth that he didn't do before.  Soon, he's trying to get her out of the house, while Maury is becoming the overprotective dad who only wants his daughter doing things at night.  As for Beth, she's changing: She forgets a lot of things, she gets jealous and violent, and she's super-strong and impervious to pain.  Soon Zach starts experiencing the same problems he and Beth had before -- plus wondering if she's going to eat him.  Also, other people start turning up and acting like Beth...
Life after Beth is an interesting little idea that isn't really explored.  While Aubrey Plaza is suitably weird as the ex-girlfriend whose return is full of pitfalls, the movie starts too slowly and Dane DeHaan isn't that funny.  John C. Reilly does a good turn as the overprotective father, but Molly Shannon doesn't have much to do.  There are some funny moments through the later parts of the movie, but it doesn't go beyond the basic joke of what it's like to be dating a zombie.  I liked Life after Beth sometimes, but it doesn't come close to Shaun of the Dead as a brilliant zombie comedy.  (Dvd extras include deleted scenes and commentary.)

Overall grade: C+
Reviewed by James Lynch

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