By MORGAN WITTER
A unique buddy-cop movie that seems too much like something we have seen before, this summer’s “R.I.P.D.” came to the University of Mary Washington Cheap Seats last weekend and underwhelmed the audience. The unexciting film seemed like a regurgitated “Men in Black,” with less genuine heart and more disappointing humor
Based on a comic by Peter M. Lenkov called “Rest in Peace Division,” the film’s title stands for the supernatural police force that its main characters belong to.
Ryan Reynolds plays Nick Walker, a slightly crooked Boston cop. Nick and his partner Bobby Hayes (Kevin Bacon) stole plates of gold from their last case and planned to keep it for themselves.
However, after a tender moment at home with his wife, Nick recognized his own wrongdoings, and tells Hayes that he is out of their plot. In retaliation for the betrayal, Hayes is unsurprisingly revealed to be a villain who betrays and kills Nick during their next drugs bust.
Nick ascends towards the sky and is tunneled into the afterlife through a beehive of clouds in a terribly done, made-for-3D sequence. He is then faced with a choice between divine judgment and certain damnation, or joining the R.I.P.D. to hunt down rotten souls on earth. Nick jumps on the latter in order to find his way back to the wife he loves and left behind. He is assigned a new, undead partner, gun-slinging 19th century sheriff Roy Pulsifer (Jeff Bridges).
The undead police pair do not mesh well at first, and their attempts at wrangling undead criminals, called “deados,” are rocky at best. Hayes returns and is exposed as a deado and is collecting more stolen gold, which he plans to use to make a device that will free souls from the afterlife and return them to earth to wreak havoc. Nick and Roy ultimately unite in order to take down Hayes.
The movie presented a few memorable, with a few of Reynolds’ wisecracks actually garnering laughs, but, ultimately, a lot of the humor was lost. Bridge’s thick southern accent distorted every line he spoke and sounded like he was chewing on gum throughout the movie, making anything he said unintelligible. The only word he spat out easily was “deados,” which made it impossible to take them seriously. The deados themselves were created from bad CGI, designed to look like Edgar from “Men in Black” but looking more like silly-puddy reimaginings of him.
Much of the humor in “R.I.P.D.” was random, trying to generate laughs from sheer absurdity. The thread of the movie was nearly lost a half hour in, when Nick meets his first Deado. The deado exploded out of his human skin after Nick prompted him with phrases on flashcards about Indian Food, a joke that is never quite explained and is never found funny. The movie was a mess of poorly executed and unimpressive ideas.
Reynolds’ acting choices also did not suit the tone of the movie. While the rest of the film tried to be humorous, Reynolds’ character remained solemn and deeply affected by his circumstances. There is a sober scene where he must watch his own funeral from a distance, and he stares wet-eyed and stoic as his wife puts him in the ground. Roy cracks jokes in the background, and it is supposed to be a funny scene, but Reynolds is so distraught over his own death that none of it feels amusing at all.
“R.I.P.D.” was fun in theory, but it an unimaginative story seen before.