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When most people die, they move on to the afterlife. Those that manage to slip through the cracks and stay on Earth become rotting corpses who wreak havoc on the real world, and it’s up to the Rest in Peace Department to bring them in and restore order to the world.

Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) and recently murdered police officer who is given one more chance in the afterlife as part of the Rest in Peace Department. His new partner is veteran officer Roy Pulsipher (Jeff Bridges), a lawman gunslinger from the old Wild West who is known for his unorthodox methods of justice. Together they stumble upon an ancient plot to return the dead among the living and destroy the world.

Put simply, R.I.P.D. is a supernatural version of Men in Black only it’s less thrilling and less funny which is a shame because it actually has a decent cast. Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon, and Mary-Louise Parker have all done quality work in the past, and even Ryan Reynolds has had some shining moments, too. All of that seems to be thrown out the window here.

Since they’re dead, the living doesn’t see the bodies of Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds but instead see their living avatars, which in this case is Marisa Miller for Bridges and James Hong for Reynolds. It’s an interesting plot device that could have worked well, had it been utilized in more diverse ways. Instead we’re just given short scenes of them in their human bodies that mainly consist of people gawking at how sexy Miller looks or how old Hong is. The novelty of it wears off quickly.

Bridges tries to channel his True Grit spirit once again for the role of Roy with his cowboy demeanor and western accent. The problem is that he goes way overboard with everything, making it impossibly difficult to understand what he’s saying. It makes him more of a comic relief character rather than lead actor. The humor is forced and is oftentimes cringe-worthy, resulting in more groans than laughs.

Another aspect that fails to meet expectations is the substandard special effects. Monsters look boring, like they’ve been cut and pasted into scenes and show little creativity when it comes to their design. They’re either massive blobs of flesh or have unhinged jaws showcasing how wide they can open their mouths. Why R.I.P.D. is in 3D as well I’ll never know, but it doesn’t make it look any better.

I’ve never read the comic R.I.P.D. is based on but I can’t imagine the film doing it any justice. It’s an uninteresting and unamusing chore that underutilizes its entire cast. If you’re not a mindless zombie going into seeing R.I.P.D. you will be when you leave.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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