Dead on arrival
ARIP-OFF of Ghostbusters and Men in Black, R.I.P.D. is both predictable and freakishly bonkers.
Soon-to-be ex-movie star Ryan Reynolds plays a Boston detective who is having second thoughts about keeping his share of the gold that he and his corrupt partner (Kevin Bacon) found on a raid and agreed to split.
Bacon: No problem, bro! Sorry I even brought it up! Say, I was thinking of going clean too!
Then the two leave for another dangerous raid. You can guess what’s going to happen, although on the other hand you probably wouldn’t expect to see MaryLouise Parker show up in heaven as a snotty police chief in a jumper and white knee boots who tells the now-deceased Nick (Reynolds) that he has to do 200 years on the Pearly Gates’ police force before he can face Judgment Day.
Nick’s partner Roy (Jeff Bridges) is a Wild West lawman who complains that when he got killed on Earth, coyotes ‘‘Made love to my skull’’. He patiently explains the bizarre and incomprehensible rules of the film, which have something to do with bad dead people
Ryan Reynolds (left) and Jeff Bridges in action comedy R.I.P.D. not being really dead – they just go back to Earth and take on human form and go about their business.
But! If you eat Indian takeout food in front of them, they reveal their true, monstrous selves, which resemble a cross between the Incredible Hulk and Mike Myers’s Fat Bastard. Then they go rampaging around town destroying stuff like the aliens in Men in Black, only this time you’ll wish you were the one who could have someone flash one of those gadgets in your face to make you forget everything you’ve just seen.
If you kill these ‘‘Dead-Os’’ again, this time by taking them out with what looks like a machine gun loaded with ping pong balls, then they’re officially dead. But the weird is just getting started. The officers of the Rest in Peace Department (doesn’t quite work, does it?) are also, back on Earth, alive and able to do all the stuff living people do, even interact with the living. The catch is that they don’t look or sound like themselves to humans. Roy looks like a blonde supermodel (cue the opening notes from Let’s Get It On every time we see him from a living person’s point of view), while Nick is a middle-aged Chinese man. Still, after a couple of visits to his dead wife (Stephanie Szostak), she starts to believe this guy is her dead hubby come back to visit.
Halfway through, after we’ve established that Roy and Nick don’t like each other, we figure out where all this is leading, which is that the gold Nick came across on Earth is part of an ancient spooky obelisk straight out of The Mummy that, when all all the pieces fit together, will cause all the evil dead of all time to rain back on Earth. We’re talking millions of dead bodies – almost as many corpses as there are Ryan Reynolds movies that died.
Cue Armageddon, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. But the obelisk can be busted and the world saved in the following secret supernatural way: If you drop a car on it.
If this were a Spielberg movie, it would be Raiders of the Least Ark.
– KYLE SMITH, The New York Post
R.I.P.D. opens today.