It took him a few years, but Michael Showalter is finally getting an opportunity to follow up his sublime 2005 non-hit, The Baxter. And while I find it terribly difficult to get excited over the remake of a "German comedy" (let’s see, there’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Stationmaster’s Wife and what else?), anything that gets Showalter back behind the camera is a welcome development.
It’s also difficult to work up genuine enthusiasm for a title like The Night of the Living Dorks, especially when The Hollywood Reporter pitches it as "Revenge of the Nerds meets Shaun of the Dead". I mean, I like those movies, but there’s something desperate about the name-dropping; it’s like when everyone was saying Havana was going to be "Casablanca meets The Night of the Lepus in Skatetown U.S.A.". Kinda came up short, no? And the premise – three nerdy pals perform a voodoo ritual, get killed in a car crash, and return as zombies – doesn’t exactly scream "classic" either.
But Showalter’s The Baxter was so uncommonly sweet-natured that I could see him imbuing this formula flick with a little heart. The screenplay is by Chris Bishop (who wrote for The Drew Carey Show), but I wouldn’t be surprised if Showalter gives it a polish before filming starts. And here’s hoping he doesn’t stumble like his State-mate David Wain and cough up something hopelessly scattershot like The Ten (and I’m being kind w/ "scattershot"; given my unabashed love for Wet Hot American Summer, I was stunned at how little I laughed during The Ten).
The Night of the Living Dorks will be made for Warner Independent, with Roy Lee, Doug Davison and Adam F. Goldberg producing.