Damn. I Don’t Know What Eyes to Shoot You Between.
As the end of the year approaches, my standards dip dangerously low as I try to round out my films of 2013. I could dislocate my shoulder with how hard I shrug in front of a RedBox while saying, “Fuck it!” I knew about today’s movie while it was in theaters and even considered seeing it there. Even though the movie looked like crap, it had a bunch of people I liked in it so I figured it was worth a chance. We’ll find out if it was as I review R.I.P.D., based on the Dark Horse Entertainment comic by Peter M. Lenkov, written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, directed by Robert Schwentke, and starring Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Mary-Louise Parker, Kevin Bacon, Stephanie Szostak, James Hong, and Marisa Miller.
Two Detectives named Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) and Bobby Hayes (Kevin Bacon) steal some gold they found during a drug-bust, but Nick is having doubts. Bobby is not. So much so that he kills Nick when they go out on a bust to keep him from returning the gold. Instead of just dying as his face hit the ground from 3 stories up, the world freezes around Nick until he’s sucked up into an anus in the sky. He wakes up in an interrogation room with Mildred Proctor (Mary-Louise Parker), who invites Nick to join the Rest In Peace Department, a police force dedicated to the capture of the escaped dead that live among us. Nick is immediately partnered up with Roycephus Pulsipher (Jeff Bridges) and sent out to the streets, where he soon finds out that the gold he stole is part of a set that the dead are trying to use to reverse the flow on the giant Sky Anus that swallowed him before.
This movie was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. It was actually fairly enjoyable. I don’t feel like any of that really comes from the story as that was pretty basic. I guess that’s a strange thing to say about a movie with dead policemen and a plot to pink sock a Sky Anus, but I’m sticking with it. I’m also sticking with my decision to use “pink sock” as a verb. I guess it’s more how they get there that’s pretty basic. “We’re new partners and we don’t get along. We found this gold and there’s something weird about it. The boss is trying to get in our way, but we’ll go after it anyway.” There’s really no mystery to it. They find the gold and turn it in and then the guys upstairs just explain it all. If it were an action movie, a subpar story would be much more acceptable, but it seemed more this movie’s intention to be a comedy. It didn’t land the humor nearly as much as it tried. Most of the successes felt like it were sold much more by the delivery than the joke itself, such as the moment when Proctor bit Roy’s beard and he said, “She billy-goated me!” If you’re not laughing right now, it’s because it wasn’t that funny of a joke on the page. It needed Jeff Bridges to pull it off.
The main thing I noticed about this movie visually is that it felt like it really wanted to be Men in Black. Quasi-dark and quasi-funny. There was a good amount of action in the movie, but not a whole lot that struck me as particularly cool. I did really enjoy Roy’s showdown scene, though. I also laughed really hard when the construction vehicle got stuck in the wall above the Spear of Jericho (or whatever they called it), but not for a reason that was positive for the movie. It was just so obvious of a setup for how they would eventually defeat the Spear thing that it was laughable.
I think the performances in this movie were what elevated it beyond its station. I typically like Ryan Reynolds. He’s usually funny and always easy on the eyes. I even liked him in Green Lantern. That movie wasn’t his fault. Of course, Ryan Reynolds was definitely overshadowed by Jeff Bridges. If you liked Bridges’ portrayal of Rooster Cogburn in True Grit, then you’ll find much more of the same in his performance in this movie. And if you didn’t like his performance in that movie then I request you make sweet love to a rock or something prickly. Mary-Louise Parker is just great in general. She’s super cute and super funny. I should like one day to place a baby inside of her. And these three actors also had great chemistry between each other. The new partnership friction between Reynolds and Bridges was well-realized, and the sexual tension between Bridges and Parker was mined for some funny moments. Enough to make me forgive Bridges for laying his mack down on my woman. Kevin Bacon was also in this movie! …That’s all I got about that.
R.I.P.D. was much better than I expected. It would be difficult for it not to be. There was nothing special in the writing or the action, but I think the cast made the movie much better than it would be on its own. Their chemistry and quality made this movie easily watchable, but they could not fix the movie enough for there to really be any reason to watch it. You can, but you don’t need to. R.I.P.D. gets “I think you’re smelling what I’m selling” out of “One of them coyotes, he made love to my skull!”
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