Saturday, July 20, 2013

R.I.P.D.: Underrated?

RIPD has a 12% rating on rottentomatoes right now. I don't typically disagree with professional critics, but I have to say that this is one instance where I do.

Within 90 seconds of the Universal Studios logo, you can tell that this is a stupid movie. Accept it. Embrace it. Set your expectations properly and you can actually have a lot of fun at R.I.P.D.

Ryan Reynolds is a Boston PD officer who is killed during a drug raid, but pressed into service with the Rest In Peace Department, a division of supernatural police that serve 100-year terms rounding up and dispatching 'deados' that have escaped Judgement (as Mary-Louise Parker says, 150,000 people die every day, and some fall through the cracks). Jeff Bridges is partnered with Reynolds as the two try to catch deados and eventually try to avoid the apocalypse.

Story: 2/5 - It's a crappy adventure movie, take it at face value and it's not that bad. Writers Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi (of AEon Flux and Clash of the Titans) do a good job of explaining everything within the story with only a couple of scenes where that is the explicit purpose - within ten minutes, you know everything you need to, and the movie progresses pretty seamlessly from there. There is a distinct lack of creativity or real drama, but it is what it is.

Writing: 3/5 - The jokes were cheap, but they worked. None of the dialogue felt contrived, though going in I was sure that it would. The characters were lifelike and their antics bearable.

Acting: 3/5 - Here's the thing: I love Ryan Reynolds. And Jeff Bridges. And Mary-Louise Parker. And Kevin Bacon. There are no real gymnastics required in terms of emotional range from any of these characters, but they do their jobs well - Reynolds with the snark, Bridges (in a performance eerily similar to his Rooster Cogburn), and Parker with her airy superiority. Everyone is on-point and likeable, right down to cameos by Mike O'Malley and James Hong. Bridges may try a little too hard to steal some of the scenes, but he succeeds more often than not.

Aesthetics: 3/5 - The movie had it's share of 'moments,' short periods where I thought to myself, 'you know, this is kind of fun.' The music was appropriate, and while I thought cinematographer Alwin Kuchler got a little too creative at times, it was fresh and the shots were never boring.

Final Score: 55%

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