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.