Wednesday, July 24, 2013

“R.I.P.D.” – C.R.A.P.

If you are trying to decide whether to see R.I.P.D., the most important thing you need to know before you make that decision occurs in the first scene. Roughly thirty seconds in, you will see the upper butt crack of a CGI fat man flying through the air in slow motion. Not only is that a horrifying visual, but it’s the perfect way to describe this movie in a single sentence. What I’m wondering is if the script spells it out like that because, not only did someone have to read this script and approve it, but that same someone then shelled out $130 million dollars to make this flying ass-fat of a movie.

A lot of people who saw and hated this movie are quick to point the finger at Ryan Reynolds as the culprit, mostly because they blame him for The Green Lantern sucking. But, this is just fan-boy nonsense as Reynolds had nothing to do with the actual writing, production, or direction of either of these movies. These people argue that Reynolds is not an action star, but the same could have been said about Robert Downey Jr., Bruce Willis, Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, Chris Evans and on and on. The real problem isn’t that Reynolds can’t succeed as an action hero; it’s that the screenplays for both movies were so bad that the movies came off as practical jokes against the audience.

The Green Lantern aside, R.I.P.D. is exactly the type of action/comedy movie that is perfect for a guy like Reynolds – at least on paper. As you’ve probably seen or heard from other places, this movie is a cross between Ghostbusters and Men in Black. In other words, it’s a comedy wrapped in an action blanket. In a nutshell, it’s about two dead law-enforcement officers, one old and one young, trying to keep the world safe from dead people. On the surface, this sounds like a typical summer popcorn flick, but then the movie starts.

Nick (Reynolds) is the young police officer who dies on the job and is recruited to the Rest In Peace Department (get it?) to serve out his purgatory. He is paired with long-dead western lawman, Roy (Jeff Bridges), to help keep the world safe from those dead folks who refuse to move on to the afterlife. These folks are referred to as Dead-Os (the term Dead-O is so stupid and lazy that even if that is what they were called in the “graphic novel,” it’s amazing that nobody protested enough to get it changed). In a half-assed explanation of their duties, Roy explains that the Dead-Os cause things on Earth to rot or fall apart, so they must capture or eliminate them using Indian food, special glowing handcuffs (which are never actually used), and magic bullets that erase dead people from existence if shot in the head. You read that correctly – Indian food – and I swear to you this is a real movie.

While the bullets at least make some sort of sense, the Indian food is purely a comedic device that fails to be funny in any possible way. And, incredibly, that’s not even the worst or most pointless device in the movie. While on Earth, Nick and Roy don’t look like Reynolds and Bridges. Instead, they have avatars in the form of 84 year-old Asian-American actor James Hong for Nick and supermodel Marissa Miller for Roy. As Roy explains, and I’m paraphrasing here, “in order to make sure they can’t divulge their true selves to the living, they have alternate identities (the avatars) and speak in gobbledygook if they try to tell anyone who they really are.” Not only do we never hear the gobbledygook, but Miller and Hong are given about three minutes of total screen time in the entire film. That amount of time allows for no comedy whatsoever and begs the question “why bother?”

The stupidity piles on throughout the film as the plot becomes Nick’s ex-partner, Bobby (Kevin Bacon) trying to piece together an ancient artifact in order to bring all of the dead back to Earth. The reason is because…ummmm…well, they don’t actually give us a reason. He just wants to because, you know, evil and stuff. I guess that makes Indian food not evil, though most people would agree that the aftermath of eating Indian food tends to not be good.

As bad as the story and script were, the acting was just plain embarrassing. Reynolds looked like he didn’t really want to be there, especially since he was given virtually no decent lines, and delivered them with the kind of joy one gets from putting their dog to sleep. Bacon’s villain was so obvious and clichéd that you could actually count the numbers in his paint-by-numbers performance. But the two of them combined were no match for Bridges’ turd of a performance. Roy is what you would get if the Dude from The Big Lebowski had sex with Yosemite Sam and sat on your face. In fact, Mary-Louise Parker as the head of the R.I.P.D. was the only decent thing about the movie, providing a temporary reprieve from the ass-stink emanating from the screen whenever she appeared.

The best thing about this movie is that it is so obviously bad just from the previews that almost nobody went to see it over the past weekend – also its opening weekend – to the tune of grossing only $12.7 million. If, after all of that, you are still considering seeing this movie, just remember that while uber-babe Marissa Miller gets less than a minute of screen time (and nothing longer than 5 seconds), you get to see a flying, slow-motion, CGI, fat man’s ass crack. Twice.

Rating: Ask for all of your money back and an apology from the theater for showing a movie that almost literally craps on you.

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