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'R.I.P.D.' Review: Not as Bad as the Buzz, But Still Loud and Clunky

Thompson on Hollywood By Joe Leydon | Thompson on Hollywood July 19, 2013 at 12:15PM

"R.I.P.D." isn’t nearly as bad as its near-deafening advance buzz indicated -- though, really, what movie could be? -- but that doesn’t mean the laughs and gasps are satisfyingly abundant in this loud and clunky sci-fi fantasy action-comedy.
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Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds in "R.I.P.D."
Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds in "R.I.P.D."

"R.I.P.D." isn’t nearly as bad as its near-deafening advance buzz indicated -- though, really, what movie could be? -- but that doesn’t mean the laughs and gasps are satisfyingly abundant in this loud and clunky sci-fi fantasy action-comedy. 

As expensive and useless as something you’d buy in a duty-free store, it appears to be the work of filmmakers who saw "Men in Black" at an impressionable age, slapped themselves on their foreheads, and exclaimed: “Hey! We can do that!” Unfortunately, they can’t -- though not for any lack of trying.

Based on a graphic novel -- the same sort of source material that, not coincidentally, also inspired MiB -- "R.I.P.D." imagines a secret organization of undead law-enforcers charged with controlling (and, in extreme cases, destroying) human-disguised demons who are said to haunt the entire planet, but appear to congregate primarily in Boston.

Ryan Reynolds stars as Nick Walker, a Beantown police detective who shuffles off this mortal coil after being fatally shot by his corrupt partner during the chaos of a drug raid, and then gets a shot at redemption (or, failing that, rejuvenation) when he’s enlisted by an outfit known as the Rest In Peace Department (R.I.P.D.). He spends most of the movie behaving as someone intent on living down a terrible mistake -- like Green Lantern, perhaps? -- but his humorlessness is, strangely enough, more ingratiating than not.

Read the rest of this review here.

This article is related to: Reviews, Reviews, Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, R.I.P.D.


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.