This makes it almost look not dumb.
"Defending Our World One Soul at a Time"

That is open to debate and remains to be seen. Welcome back to The Tagline, and pardon my Tuesday/Thursday late post earlier this week, it was the result of forgetfulness and being away in Boston all weekend. Incidentally, today's movie takes place IN Boston, and was actually shot, at least in part, on location there. I know this for a fact because there is a modestly lengthy sequence in the middle of the film that was clearly shot in the Hynes Convention Center, which is where I was in Boston for the entire weekend. The scene is supposed to be a finance convention or something, I have no idea. I was definitely not attending a finance convention. ENOUGH OF THAT THOUGH today I will be talking about R.I.P.D. a movie billed as a supernatural comedy film released last summer, based on a Darkhorse comic book of the same name. The film stars Ryan Reynolds (here taking his fourth bad turn as a comic book character by most people's reckoning, though I honestly didn't think Green Lantern was that terrible, and I think Ryan Reynolds was a perfect Hal Jordan) as imminently deceased police officer Nick Walker, and Jeff Bridges (AKA The Dude/Obadiah Stane I guess) as very deceased former U.S. Marshall Roy Pulsipher, as they work out their sentence in the Rest In Peace Department so as to improve their chances of not ending up at the big barbecue down below (that's Hell kids. I'm talking about Hell). Nick of course still has unfinished issues to work out with his violent death, where he was killed by his partner Bobby (Kevin Bacon, here as a ghost monster and not a pretend Nazi) after deciding he was going to turn in his portion of the gold they found during a drug bust. Nick is also worried about his wife, and just generally is dealing well with having been shot off of a balcony in a burning warehouse.

Okay so this was pretty funny.
Really who can blame the guy, that sounds pretty shitty, and what follows isn't awesome. Nick quickly finds himself being grilled by Mary-Louise Parker who offers him the R.I.P.D. job, and then it's off to the races and back to Earth to witness his own funeral, and realize that to the living he looks like James Hong. Yes like he's literally walking around as James Hong, and Jeff Bridges looks like Marisa Miller, who is a supermodel. This sort of wackiness more or less sets the tone for the rest of the movie, which cannot seem to keep a straight face for more than 30 seconds before cracking a grin over its own zaniness. I on the other hand was not nearly as taken with the whimsy. The movie has its moments certainly (almost all of these involving the on screen banter between Bridges and Reynolds) but they are not nearly enough to keep this boat sailing to the movie's conclusion. The plot is slow and formulaic, and it isn't even a good formula. Someone compared this movie to Wild Wild West, and that is an insult, because honestly WWW was a much better movie in most any regard (to hear more about how wrong you are for not loving Wild Wild West go here). A closer analog would be Men In Black, though again that movie was much better, but I think it is thematically more similar to R.I.P.D. than WWW was. It is a movie involving an odd couple-styled duo of supernatural/paranormal law enforcers using fantastical weapons to hunt weird critter-type criminals. Thankfully Ryan Reynolds does not sing a rap song about this movie though.

Coolest frame in the entire movie probably. 
The action sequences in R.I.P.D. are some of the least fun I've seen in a while, and the special effects throughout the movie just really fizzle. Things look cheesy, and that's unfortunate because they dumped a lot of money into them (this movie was shot on a 130 million budget so we can safely assume those crappy looking effects weren't cheap). Whenever an "action" sequence started, I just felt like I wanted it to hurry up and end, in the hopes that it would be followed by Jeff Bridges making sassy comments about how he's a woman to be respected, or talking about what the coyotes did to his dead body in the desert (it was not neighborly) I eventually realized that I was really just impatiently awaiting the end of the entire movie, because I felt it was like watching a performer you like embarrass themselves on stage. I just wanted it to be over for their sake as much as my own.

Now THERE is a dream team.
In the end what you get is a movie that can't seem to find its stride. By the time its down setting itself up, the movie is more than half over, and it never really finds its pace. It's uneven, and generally not very interesting, goofy and campy at all the wrong moments in all the wrong ways, and not remotely original. Consider that the aforementioned MIB was released in 1997, and has since seen two sequels, and this gives you an idea of just how played out the premise would be even if it HAD been executed well, which it just wasn't. I skipped R.I.P.D in the theaters, and now I just wish I'd skipped it altogether.

That's it for this week! Join me next week as we slowly migrate out of this becalmed winter nightmare, and they start releasing movies again.

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