Austin’s take on MEN IN BLACK 4….. Oops! I mean, R.I.P.D.!!!

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Yup, when I first saw the preview for this, I thought.  Man, this looks an awful lot like MEN IN BLACK.  But Jeff Bridges kind of looked like he was having fun, so I was going into this optimistically.

Ryan Reynolds is… well, pretty much Ryan Reynolds.  He’s a smart ass cop who gets killed by his crooked partner played by Kevin Bacon (whose really frying it up this time).  Reynolds goes to the afterlife to find out that he has been recruited to be a member of the Rest in Peace Department.  He gets partnered with Jeff Bridges (doing a send up of his Rooster Cogburn character from TRUE GRIT) and the two go back to the land of the living in different vessels.  Reynolds is an old Asian dude, while Bridges is a superficially hot supermodel.  While they are on Earth, they must wrangle in all of the bad “deadies” who inhabit the planet.  It really is like MEN IN BLACK. While on his new job, Reynolds discovers that his old crooked partner is actually a deadie who plans to take over the world, of course.

The movie is about as original as my penis (I don’t even know what that means, but I’m sticking with my phrase, ha!).  There is not one fresh thing here.  Which wouldn’t be a huge problem if the flick was entertaining.  But it’s not.  Instead, it just seems very tired.  The visual effects are God awful, the action sequences are boring, and the plot is borderline incoherent.  This is definitely going to go down as one of the biggest flops of the year, if not the decade.

I did get a little kick out of Kevin Bacon as he “hammed” it up (or should that be “Baconed” it up) as the villain.  He’s having fun, I think.  Ryan Reynolds is boring throughout the short running time.  He fails to create a character of any kind.  All of the supporting cast is uninspired.  The film’s only saving grace is Jeff Bridges.  He must have known he was in a “not-so-good” movie from the get-go, but he certainly didn’t let that stop him from acting his ass off.  Every time he is on-screen, he injects much-needed life to the proceedings.  It’s an amusing self-mocking performance that is a lot of fun to watch.  In fact, about 20 minutes into the movie, I pretty much just stopped paying attention to the story and just focused on all the little things that Bridges was bringing to the movie.  He’s got some pretty funny facial expressions and has all the film’s best lines.   But aside from Bridges, this is one lousy fucking movie.  And that’s too bad, because his performance is kind of worth seeing.  unfortunately, that would mean you’d have to sit through this dreadful flick. If you’re a die-hard Bridges fan, I guess you could rent it and just fast forward to all of his scenes?

The direction by Robert Schwenke (who has yet to make a decent film) is pedestrian at best.  It’s just atrocious.  If you would have told me that this was made by the same guy who did the 1998 flop THE AVENGERS (with Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman), I would have believed you.  The script is just a rip off of the MEN IN BLACK series, even though this was based on a comic series.  The score isn’t even very good.  Oh yeah, and the 3D conversion looks like someone shat all over the screen.

I brought my 10-year-old daughter and 2 of her friends, and they seemed to get a kick out of the movie.  So who knows, there could be an audience for this?  But mostly, R.I.P.D. will remind you of better films.  Jeff Bridges is kind of worth seeing here.  He definitely gives it his all.  But I just wish everyone else was on the same page as him, which was to make a good movie.  Many critics have been comparing this to MEN IN BLACK, and I am going to have to disagree with that comparison.  This is much more like MEN IN BLACK 2, and that’s not a good thing!  ★½ (out of ★★★★)

- Rated PG-13 for violence, sci-fi/fantasy action, some sensuality, and language including sex references

- Running time: 1hr 35min

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Categories: Austin Kennedy, Reviews

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