All right, y’all, let’s get the Honey Boo Boo’s Mother out of the room. I know what you’re thinking; this film is Men in Black with ghosts. And you’d be both right… and wrong. I went in to this movie cautiously optimistic because, if done correctly, R.I.P.D. could have built on an already established franchise fan base and launched a whole new series of films based off this comic concept. That, much like my future open relationship with Ryan Gosling, is (sadly) never going to happen.
R.I.P.D. follows the fleeting life of Boston detective Nick Walker and eternal afterlife as an officer with the Rest In Peace Department (an organization tasked with hunting down rogue spirits, aka Deados, who’ve evaded eternal judgment). Love, Betrayal, and Conspiracies… Oh My! After Walker abruptly shuffles off his mortal coil, he’s caught up in a race against time to save the city, and the woman, he still loves against increasingly insurmountable supernatural odds. Shackled with R.I.P.D. officer Roy Pulsipher as his partner, an ornery, fast-talking holdover from the Wild West, and with what I can only imagine to be a near-irresistible urge to mold pottery, Walker and Pulsipher must defy the odds (and the memory of sexually deviant coyotes) to stop evil dead(os) from taking over the earth.
I teetered on the edge of three and four beers because, even with the laundry list of shit that went wrong with this popcorn flick, I still had a fairly good time. I saw R.I.P.D. with a friend and I can best recommend that if you do go see this, that’s the way to do it. This will be a great drinking game movie and an even better film to watch wasted. There’s lots of engaging visuals and a decent amount of the jokes land. I laughed my ass off (don’t worry guys, there’s still enough left to bounce a quarter off of) and was smiling throughout most of the feature. But every magical moment must end and, when the credits rolled, I was set adrift in a sea of odd circumstances and unresolved loose ends. And that’s where the beer comes in. Tap that keg and have your mug frosted and on stand-by, Boozers… This bitch in coming in for a landing.
I went into R.I.P.D. mildly enthused because, obvious comparisons aside, it looked like Ryan Reynolds would be at his quippy best and Jeff Bridges at his most westerny badass. And once again, I was both right… and wrong. While for the most part the banter between the two was amusingly diverting (and I found myself laughing more often than not) I never quite knew if I was laughing with them, or at them. The partnership felt forced and, at times, awkward. The dynamic between Bridges and Reynolds was distractingly competitive and, like buying a bra two sizes too small, R.I.P.D. never quite fell into place.
For a film basing it’s success almost entirely on the “buddy cop” dynamic, R.I.P.D. failed in that regard. Bridges looked like he’d wandered out of True Grit and was trying to act through a severe case of lockjaw, and Reynolds looked like he had the Taco Bell shits most of the time, in-between flippant bouts of sarcasm, that is.
Imagine if Ghost had a bastard child with Men in Black… And that baby was kind of ugly, but you played with it a little before putting it back in it’s box.
R.I.P.D. seemed rushed and neglected to develop any depth between the two leads or even between the “surprise” villain in the flick (though if you’re conscious or have roughly three functioning brain cells, you’ll figure that shit out real quick) and our intrepid, unwilling, soiled-hero-with-a-heart. As a result, the (admittedly mostly enjoyable) movie felt shallow and, while engaging, failed to achieve any true impact that would help it survive beyond the current box office season.
In addition to that, plot points seemed to happen only for the sake of impetus and lacked any foundation for why they were happening other than “just because”. There were baffling inconsistencies even within R.I.P.D.’s own universe, the largest of which being gravity. Without getting too deep into Spoiler City, I’ll say that the deados seemed to exist on a whole other level than the seemingly cut-from-the-same-cloth R.I.P.D. officers. This phenomenon really jumps the shark when Fat Bastard busts up a Fortune 500 meeting (you’ll know when).
R.I.P.D. never quite knew what it wanted to be. There wasn’t enough action for an action movie and not enough comedy for a funny flick. Some jokes fell flatter than the characters getting squished left and right on shit, and some were repeated so often a dead horse would’ve gotten beaten less.
Also, there was never any real threat to our leads getting killed a second time because, once dead, they became nearly indestructible and the film felt more and more like a cartoon and less and less like a serious effort the longer the running time went on. Without even the illusion of actual danger, R.I.P.D. came off as a shallow runaround that looked good on the surface and tasted good going down the hatch, but ultimately left you feeling unfulfilled… Much like our dearly departed Twinkies.
R.I.P.D. was like being a sexually active Alzheimer’s patient. You’re pretty sure you had a good time, but you were never quite certain what was going on.
Take a Drink: for every conversation that ends in a WTF moment. Hint: please reference anything involving coyotes.
Take a Drink: anytime you hear “rook”, “deado”, “pop”, or “R.I.P.D.”.
Do a Shot: each time somebody gets pancaked/someone pervs on Bridges’ alter ego.
Take a Drink: every time you lay eyes on R.I.P.D. alter egos.
Take a Drink: whenever deados pop. Bonus Shot: if at any point you scream “Holy shit, it’s Fat Bastard!” during a pop.
Shotgun a Beer: for a scene straight outta Willy Wonka. You’ll know when.