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Fido is a hilariously poignant Leave it to Beaver send up--with flesh-eating zombies added in for kicks.


The Robinsons lead a rather idyllic life in Willard, a town that looks like a throwback to the 1950s. But actually, we are in the future, where zombies once walk the Earth. A corporation called Zomcom has figure out how to control all the zombies and suppress their flesh-eating nature with collars, so now the undead have become domestic servants to the living. Mom Robinson (Carrie-Anne Moss) doesn't want to be the last on her block to have a zombie of her own, but Dad (Dylan Baker) is reluctant. Nevertheless, the Robinsons get their zombie, Fido (Billy Connolly). He is clumsy, howls at lightning and is chained up outside. But he is also obedient and eventually bonds with the young Timmy Robinson (K'Sun Ray), protecting him from bullies. Mr. Bottoms (Henry Czerny), the head of security for Zomcom, and his family move in across the street and warns them you can't be too friendly with the flesh eaters because they will turn on you if those collars malfunction. He's right. Even if Fido loves the Robinsons, once he loses that collar around his neck, he is going straight for their brains.


Moss is particularly good in Fido, showing some of that indie moxie she displayed in Memento. She gets to deliver completely ridiculous lines such as, ''Honey, just because your father tried to eat you when you were younger doesn't mean we have to be unhappy forever?'' with a wonderfully straight face and plays the role as a perfect housewife with aplomb. No doubt K'Sun Ray is made to look like a young Macaulay Culkin on purpose, and he's pretty adept at showing his concern for the underprivileged zombies, worrying about their feelings. But the movie really belongs to Connolly, so excellent at emoting through grotesque make-up and moss-green teeth without ever saying a word.


Kudos to director Andrew Currie, who has taken the zombie flick and turned into a comical morality tale. Of course, he's taking aim at the world today, hinting at issues about immigration, racism and alternative families. The underlying themes are quite meaningful, especially when Dad says things like ''Being alive is what counts, feelings are not important.'' For example, the Robinsons go to funerals for fun on weekends since most people can't afford the ones that guarantee their bodies will stay put, unless they have it done by the Zomcom corporation. Good stuff. Yes, it's true that Fido's world is a scary one, but Currie and his team manage to poke fun at the zombie horror genre.

Bottom Line rated this film 3 1/2 stars.