DIRECTED BY Robert Schwentke
STARS Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds
Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds in R.I.P.D. (Photo: Universal)
Based on the Dark Horse comic book, R.I.P.D. is one of those movies that's more fun to discuss than to watch. Look, it's Rooster Cogburn and Green Lantern, together at last! Check out The Dude slumming with Van Wilder! Wait, when did Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds take over the Men in Black franchise from Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith?
Lame wisecracks at the water cooler are certainly preferable to anything in R.I.P.D., an endurance test masquerading as a motion picture. The MiB digs are a given, since instead of a seasoned veteran and his rookie partner protecting the planet from aliens disguised as humans, we get a seasoned veteran and his rookie partner protecting the planet from spirits disguised as humans. Reynolds plays Nick Walker, a Boston cop who's betrayed and killed by his partner (Kevin Bacon) over their misappropriation of a gold shipment swiped from a gang of crooks. Nick ends up in a sterile purgatory where an administrator (Mary-Louise Parker) offers him an opportunity to join the Rest in Peace Department, comprised of otherworldly law officers. Nick warily accepts, only to then be paired with an overbearing Wild West marshal named Roycephus Pulsifer (Bridges). The team head back to Earth, where Nick watches with unease as (shades of Ghost) his girlfriend (Stephanie Szostak) is comforted by his ex-partner and Roy exposes various "deados" by eating Indian food (huh?) in front of them.
R.I.P.D. rushes through the expository scenes that might make this fantasy world interesting in order to get to a feeble plotline involving a master scheme to bring all of the evil dead back to Earth. This sloppily executed story is further impeded by torturous attempts at humor and a rash of not-so-special special effects. As Pulsifer, Bridges is even more unintelligible than he was in True Grit, while Reynolds is so stiff that his character appears dead even before he takes that bullet.
Even with no advance critics' screenings to warn the public, R.I.P.D. grossed a poor $12 million on opening weekend, meaning this $130 million production is already earmarked as one of the summer's biggest bombs. In other words, funeral services are already under way at the nation's multiplexes, so the easily entertained might want to pay their respects before this one gets buried by newer releases.