quick film review: r.i.p.d.

R.I.P.D. demonstrates the principle that if you’re going to emulate, you might as well emulate something worthwhile. Thus, the film’s similarities to the Men in Black franchise with aliens replaced by the lingering and restless dead, men in black suits replaced by cops from various historical ears, and the same general mandate to protect Earth’s population from extraordinary threats.  I cannot write to the film’s relationship to its source graphic novel. All I can say is this: the film, though it doesn’t operate at the same level of zany brilliance of the Men in Black series, has a good sense of humour and a lightness of touch that makes it enjoyable to watch. Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges, two of Hollywood’s most likeable actors, have an easy on-screen partnership that enlives the narrative even when the formula begins to grind. Along with visual gags, such as the discrepancy between the heroes’ actual appearance and the way they are perceived by the living, R.I.P.D. is harmless entertainment.

Where the film falters is in its utter lack of ambition, illustrating yet another principle: give Hollywood a clever premise, and they’ll market the imagination right out of it. I can only imagine what the result would have been had R.I.P.D. modeled itself after a lesser film…

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