Director: Robert Schwentke
Studio: Original Film / Relativity Media
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker
R.I.P.D. is DOA. You probably already know that it’s a supernatural buddy action comedy dumped by its studio and marketed like a dose of anthrax. Starring the too-often luckless Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges as a pair of dead cops, the movie has been directed without a shred of humor and apparently by remote control by Robert Schwentke (Flightplan) and is based on a Dark Horse comic by Peter M. Lenkov, with the blame for its screenplay on the shoulders of Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, along with David Dobkin, who takes the rap for story credit.
If you’ve seen the trailers and ads, you have to know from a mile off that this flat, uninspired and desperately unfunny $135-million muddle has been inexpertly assembled from throwaways from, just for starters, Men in Black, Ghost and Ghostbusters. A dispirited-looking Reynolds plays a Boston cop double-crossed and shot point-blank by his skeevy partner (Kevin Bacon in the Kevin Bacon role). Ascending heavenward to the Rest in Peace Dept., Reynolds gets paired by the afterlife commanding officer (Mary-Louise Parker) with crusty, irreverent Old West gunslinger Jeff Bridges (giving the movie a well-deserved rigid middle finger by cartoonishly recycling bits of True Grit).
To pay off their debts and sins, the two dead cops get sent back down to Boston to do battle with troubled, mayhem-making “Deados,” stupid-looking CGI monsters hell-bent on ending the world as we know it. That’s not the worst movie idea we’ve ever heard, but if ever a project needed anarchy, invention, heart and soul, it's this. Instead, nothing in R.I.P.D. works, starting with the tone and the lack of chemistry between the stars, straight on to the zombie-like pacing and the jokes that continually land with a thud—then keep getting repeated.
Most of the cast members try to keep up the energy, but R.I.P.D. so misfires on all cylinders that it’s impossible to watch without already imagining it sandwiched between TV commercials for junk food, restless leg syndrome and laxatives.