Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds head up this CG-powered blitzkrieg of awfulness.
As cacophonous a clusterfuck of half-assed and half-inched ideas you're likely to find sliding off a committee-greased studio tentpole this year, R.I.P.D. arrives on these shores with its tail clamped firmly between its legs, scuttling sheepishly from a derisory Stateside reception earlier this summer.
Conceptually number-crunched in its reductive, patchworked pitch for mass-appeal — Men in Black for the boys, Ghost for the girls — there's all but zero sense of a single, authorial voice puppeteering the creaking limbs of R.I.P.D. Not that $130m plus blockbusters are necessarily the most obvious port of call for a litmus test as to the health of the auteur theory, but so generic a cut-and-paste job is the film's every aesthetic cue, it's surprising to even find a director's name surface in the closing credits (RED's Robert Schwentke, FYI).
If there's a modicum of pleasure to be taken from Jeff Bridges' Yankee-Doodled turn as centuries-dead lawman Roysephus Pulsipher, it's less than evenly counterweighted in the balsa-chiselled ballast of his co-lead, Ryan Reynolds — a murdered cop given a shot at heavenly atonement for his earthly misdeeds in exchange for a term of service rounding up judgement-evading souls for the eponymous, acronymous Rest In Peace Department.
Supporting players fare little better, but at least Mary-Louise Parker’s celestial police chief, fighting Bridges for scraps from the bottom of the banter barrel, finds herself with more to play with than one-note villain Kevin Bacon, here facing a lesser character arc than that seen in any of his mobile phone commercials.
There’s fleeting potential for some genuinely funny, gender-subverting business arising from Bridges’ earthbound disguise as a hot, statuesque blonde, but it’s quickly subsumed by a more pressing interest in unfolding the hokiest MacGuffin this side of Dan Brown’s ‘Ideas Pad’.
That all descends into a 3D-augmented blitzkrieg of CGI proves as unwelcome as it does inevitable, especially given that the level of thought applied to visualising the apocalyptic hordes of ‘Deados’ (like the rest of the film’s uninspired design work) is essentially on a par with the naming of them.
It can’t be as bad as they say, surely…
Believe the hype.