Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

January 21, 2014

‘R.I.P.D.’ may be a dumb ride, but a fun one

DVD Review

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat

emann@pvdemocrat.com — With the awards season situation looking like another typical Oscars where I’ve either not seen a majority of the flicks nominated or only liked the ones that were snubbed, I figured it was time once again to love the box office bomb. Today’s failure both financially and critically seems to be another one of those that was easy to get on the bash wagon and at the same time pretty clear in how fresh and unoriginal it was going to be in the trailers.

Perhaps it is my degrading brain cells or just a lack of caring when it comes to the argument of what is a shameless rip-off of something else, but the fact is that I have always been pretty lenient to brain-deadly comical b-movies. The fact that the movie proved a lot of the complaints true did not bother me, in that it was still somehow entertaining and by the end, a story that didn’t try to lie to the consumer. “R.I.P.D.” could have been a guilty pleasure, but somehow I have no shame admitting I constantly had good laughs from a cast that wasn’t taking itself seriously.

I owe a lot to the absolute thrashing this flick received, as it actually enabled me to set such a low threshold that it made the gripes seem almost as comical as the movie’s punch lines. It’s pretty much an afterlife version of “Men in Black” as Boston police officer Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) teams up with old west lawman Roy Pulsipher (Jeff Bridges) after he is killed by his fellow corrupt police partner Bobby Hayes (Kevin Bacon) in order to atone for a theft they got away with.

Their mission: stop dead people who don’t want to be processed in the afterlife system, but do so with a plot that actually was much better suited for prime time TV, but with a $130 million budget. What makes it comedy gold is that the two officers that don’t mesh together personality wise are seen in the living world as a hot blond babe (in Roy’s case) and an old Chinese man (in Nick’s case) with banter that is so much better because of how well they play off each other. It is this alone that makes it worth seeing for no more than popcorn flick’s sake as it admittedly is pretty flat and is as predictable as an episode of Scooby Doo.

I might not be able to offer a stable enough argument against this being the biggest steaming pile of fail for 2013, but the end result was that I still had fun watching it. The extras on the DVD aren’t bad either with a gag real that is pretty decent and deleted scenes that offer no surprise why they were cut out.

I think without Bridges it would have been far less entertaining and don’t see even a hardly likely sequel as being necessary unless a more solid story can be written. Once the final ghostly bullet is fired, I’d say it’s worth two out of five chambers for “Rest in Peace Department.”

DVD rental courtesy of Family Video of Pauls Valley.