'R.I.P.D.': another forced summer film

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(digitalBURG) — Ryan Reynolds just can’t seem to catch a break in Hollywood. I’ve always thought of him as a male Tara Reid since they seemed to show up at the same time, became inexplicably famous, and then plummeted straight down from then onward.
They’re like party guests that really, honestly care about how your grandmother is doing. They want to let you know that they’re there for you. They think your party is the best. Your music selection is so great, your friends are so nice, and your cat is so cute. They want to stay afterward and help you clean up and just really get to know you.
But all you can think is, “Why won’t this jerk just leave me alone?”
Unfortunately for Reynolds, it would appear Reid got the better deal with “Sharknado.” The “R.I.P.D.” cast is sprinkled with Golden Globes, Oscars and Walk of Fame stars. However, throwing money at something doesn’t always make it better, and “R.I.P.D.” is no exception.
With so much of the budget spent on the cast, the special effects are hardly special. You know deep in your brain’s heart that those cars falling off of the parking garage and smashing into the streets below are just CGI. The movie’s job is to trick your eyeballs so you forget, but you can’t.
In a movie about dead monster-people, one would expect a little more attention to be paid to the monsters as well. And by “a little” I mean that the special effects in this film were an absolute train wreck. I’ve been more immersed in conversations about soy candles than anything this sleepy film had to offer.
Taken individually, the actors and actresses all did well on their own. Put any two of them together, though, and nothing gelled. There was no chemistry between Reynolds and on-screen girlfriend Stephanie Szostak. None between Reynolds and Bridges. None between Bridges and pseudo-love interest Mary-Louise Parker. The most cohesive duo on the screen was the rarely-seen, nigh mute avatars of Reynolds and Bridges played by Marisa Miller and James “Lo Pan” Hong.
Oh, Kevin Bacon was there. He mostly did bad guy Kevin Bacon things. You know, betraying his friend, kidnapping the girl, collecting a nearly effortless paycheck.
It would be easy to say that “R.I.P.D.” is just “Men in Black” with dead guys instead of aliens, but that’s a discredit to “Men in Black.” “R.I.P.D.” has a couple moments that might make you crack a smile, but it tries too hard for the laughs and this stress pushes its way through the screen and ruins the moment.
Most of the jokes are one-off zingers that probably sounded great on paper, but should have never made it to filming. Despite Bridges’ charm foiled next to a rare serious-faced Reynolds, the delivery just isn’t there. “R.I.P.D.” makes “Men in Black” look like a Martin Scorsese masterpiece.
The five plus writers credited for the screenplay seem to have written “R.I.P.D.” hot-seat style without checking each other’s work at all. With such a big writing staff, a story usually falls into a convoluted mess, or becomes totally transparent for the ease of writing. “R.I.P.D.” fell into the latter category. The entire plot is totally predictable and the action is a yawn-fest.
While the directing seemed acceptable and each actor (minus a bored-looking Bacon) seemed to deliver his role, casting paid no mind to the people behind the names to ensure they worked well together. The writing team should have the C- they squeaked out in their local community college’s creative writing class revoked. The effects team should be suspended as a whole pending an investigation to determine whether they were allotted more than crayons to work with.
“R.I.P.D.” might be an acceptable pizza night movie when you’re too stuffed on greasy cheese and soggy bread to bother changing the channel, but it’s definitely not worth the theater trip.
Gems like this are why they aren’t really making an effort to finish “Deadpool,” Reynolds. You’ve participated in enough damage to the comic world already. Better luck next time. Maybe Reid can get you on for “Sharknado 2.”
I never thought I’d have to rate something lower than a Vaughn movie, but this movie gets a rating of 4.7/10.