Movie Review: R.I.P.D


Action/Comedy, 96 Minutes, 2013

What if the “Men in Black” [IMDB] hunted ghosts instead of aliens?  That’s the movie in a nutshell. Not at all original, but also not a bad idea, really.  The agents, here, are dead themselves and doing community service on Earth before being allowed into Heaven.  The fugitive ghosts hiding among us need to be found and revealed so that they can be put down for good.

The actors are all personal faves.  The curmudgeonly veteran, Roy (Jeff Bridges [IMDB]), has been doing this since the late 1800’s and likes to work alone.  The precocious newcomer, Nick (Ryan Reynolds [IMDB]) has a score to settle.  Kevin Bacon [IMDB] and Mary-Louise Parker [IMDB], neither of whom get enough screen time lately, also have meaty roles.

Agents, of course, can’t be seen as themselves.  In a decent running gag, Roy appears as a voluptuous supermodel and Nick as a frumpy, old Chinese guy.  The movie was also set Boston and that, reasonable or not, always earns extra points in my book.

The big problem with the movie, in my opinion, wasn’t the clichéd story or the (very) uneven pacing.  A movie like this lives or dies by its special effects and these just weren’t that good.  Making an all-to-common mistake practical effects were almost completely ignored in favor of CGI.  The terrible lighting on the CGI shots made them ineffective and cartoonish which, since nearly every shot was CGI, made the movie ineffective and cartoonish.

I did enjoy it as much as it would let me. Being a fan of the cast (and Boston) carried it further for me than it might have with other. It’s a decent Friday night popcorn movie, but it’s sloppy effects ultimately ruined what might have been a promising new franchise.

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