R.I.P.D. – 2013

Director Robert Schwentke
Starring Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker, Stephanie Szostak
Screenplay Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi based on R.I.P.D. comic by Peter M. Lenkov

Could it be that Ryan Reynolds has no friends in Hollywood?  Well, I don’t know about that.  I have n0 friends in Hollywood, either.  Except for maybe Tom Bergeron, who sat next to my mother-in-law on a flight once.  She didn’t like him though.  This film, whose title is too hard to type repeatedly, has been criticized for being a copy of Ghostbusters and Men In Black.  It’s not just that, though.  It borrows heavily from the movie Ghost, too.

What it has going for it, on paper, is Schwentke, who’s successful adaptation of another comic, RED worked magnificent charms a few years back.  Jeff Bridges has been on a slow roll his whole career and excels in the right spot.  Kevin Bacon as a bad guy works real well if done correctly (X-Men: First Class and, more obscure, but no less compelling Criminal Law).  Mary-Louise Parker is one of the constants of the universe.  Never up and never down.

All the things that should have been positives could not overcome the bland, repetitive nature of the film.  Bridges is annoying.  Bacon is not likable or hateable.  The low-key tricks that made RED a success for Schwentke have become high-tech garbage (especially the Deados) that don’t look real in the slightest.  Parker is the constant in this universe.

Then there is Reynolds.  Green Lantern signalled a red flag in what had otherwise had been a solid, if unspectacular career.  It was as much a risk for D.C. as Iron Man had been for Marvel.  It clanked under the weight of too many cooks and no sense of fun.  Ironically he had been awesome in his own Marvel superhero role as Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, even if the ending of the film screwed over the character he created.  He’s done some average comedies and some unremarkable voice acting since.  He’s trying new stuff.  Just not the right stuff.  If anything he continues to add credence to the Bill Simmons litany in Grantland from 2011.  He should fire his agent and reset his expectations.  Again.

(*1/2 out of *****)

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