The Schlock VaultRating: 2 of 5 yaps
“Stripperland” reminds me a lot of Taco Bell. I know that’s a strange statement to make, so let me explain myself. Taco Bell looks, smells and tastes like Mexican food but is by no means Mexican food. “Stripperland” is the same in the fact that it looks like, acts like and has a lot of the same punch lines as “Zombieland,” but it is by no means “Zombieland” and that is its downfall.
Sean Skelding’s “Stripperland” is the story of four survivors of a global epidemic that is turning women into the living dead who just so happen to have an affinity for stripping. Idaho (Ben Sheppard), Frisco (Jamison Challeen), West (Ileana Herrin) and Virginia (Maren McGuire) band together in hopes of surviving the dangers of the new world. The question becomes: Can they survive each other?
For all intents and purposes, “Stripperland” unfolds just like “Zombieland.” A global outbreak turns unsuspecting people into the living dead and they begin feasting on anyone and everyone they get their hands on, the survivors refer to each other by the state they originate, and the main character schools viewers on the rules to survive the dangers of the new world. The problem is that the movie is funniest when it is mocking “Zombieland,” but when it tries to blaze its own trail, it falls flat.
“Stripperland” begins with the main character explaining the beginning of the outbreak and his rules of surviving. Now, from the title, I’m sure that you can guess what is different about these zombies because they aren’t your run of the mill zombies. They’re strippers. Female strippers, to be exact. This is where one of the best jokes starts because the rules stem from “The Dummy’s Guide To Picking Up Strippers.”
Idaho just does the opposite of whatever the rules in the book say and that is how he has survived so far. What really sells the joke is Ben Sheppard. He could be the poor man’s Jesse Eisenberg because he sounds and looks so much like Eisenberg. Challeen does a good job with his character, Frisco. His parody of Woody Harrelson is pretty spot on and brings quite a few giggles. Herren and McGuire fall flat in their characters, and it isn’t because they don’t try, but their characters aren’t really doppelgangers of their “Zombieland” characters like Idaho and Frisco.
The biggest problem I have with this movie is that after about 20 minutes, it gives up on parodying “Zombieland” and at that point, it’s easy to lose interest. At that point, I think that the filmmakers become lazy. Everything is so much like “Zombieland,” from the characters to the opening credits to Frisco’s penchant for baked goods, and that is what makes it so interesting to watch. My biggest beef is that the dynamic between the men and the women is completely different. There’s no battle of the sexes. When the ladies are caught trying to steal the guys’ truck, the girls just say, “Sorry,” and the guys say, “No problem. Hop on in!”
I know what you may be thinking: If I want to see something like “Zombieland,” then why don’t I just watch “Zombieland”? Well, I have no answer for that. All I can tell you is that I was hoping for a Schlock-tastic film and I felt like I got the old bait and switch. So I must say, Viewer beware!