I don’t usually start a review this way, but I strongly urge you to not see R.I.P.D. Ever. This is one of the most frustratingly disappointing movies I have ever seen. Based on an imaginative comic book of the same name, there is no doubt in my mind that there were a series of increasingly poor decisions made in the making of this film.
Boston Detective Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) is murdered by his partner, Hayes (Kevin Bacon) over some crooked police activity. Rather than traveling directly to the afterlife, Walker is recruited by Proctor (Mary-Louise Parker) to the R.I.P.D., Rest in Peace Department. The R.I.P.D. keeps the world safe from deceased people avoiding final judgement, known as “deados.” Paired with cowboy Roy Pulsipher (Jeff Bridges), Walker attempts to learn the ropes in his new job.
The trailers for the film give off a strong Men in Black vibe, which is hardly a crime. I just wish that the filmmakers of R.I.P.D. had paid more careful attention when copping things from the Barry Sonnenfield film. Rather than an engine that propels everything forward, the script lacks any sort of central cohesiveness, merely bouncing from point to point without any forward momentum whatsoever.
With the cast headlining this film, I was astonished to see them all give lackluster performances. Jeff Bridges plays Rooster Cogburn on speed, which wouldn’t be the worst thing if it matched the tone of the film at all. After giving such a stellar villainous performance in X-Men: First Class, Kevin Bacon is a cartoon character with awkward pacing, and even the normally lively Mary-Louise Parker is sleepwalking.
Adding insult to injury, R.I.P.D. also contains some of the worst digital effects in recent memory. There are clear distinctions when digital doubles were used for high profile actors, and other digital characters seam to float with a complete lack of weight or reality. The story itself also feels light, with plot points held together by little more than hot air and nothing else. It gives the film an unfinished feel unworthy of a summer tentpole.
What makes R.I.P.D. so uniquely frustrating is that there are a few bright spots interspersed with the bad writing and poor special effects. The idea that RIPD officers appear as normal people to the outside world and a fun gag with Indian food, are inventive, but not enough to make R.I.P.D. worth watching. Ultimately, they are completely overshadowed by the complete lack of quality that pervades the film.
R.I.P.D. opens today in Philly area theaters.