Its not enough that R.I.P.D. is bad, its also derivatively bad while also being mind-numbingly boring. Whatever wit or smarts or silliness the Dark Horse graphic novel of the same name by Peter Lenkov possesses, it is not found in this screen adaptation that is neither fun nor funny.
In a messy pastiche of GHOSTBUSTERS, MEN IN BLACK and even a dash of DIE HARD, Ryan Reynolds plays Nick, a recently departed Boston cop who was dirty, but with his heart in the right place. And he has a unique skill set. Hence, instead of facing judgment for the gold he and partner Hayes (Kevin Bacon) appropriated during a drug bust, Nick is recruited by the Rest In Peace Division, partnered with Roy (Jeff Bridges), a Wild Bill Hickock knock off, and tasked with returning Deados to the afterlife. Deados being souls that managed to slip away before judgment and are currently rotting away here on Earth in human form, but playing havoc with the electricity and foliage.
If there is no humor, there is also little in the way of imagination, with stunningly dull special effects, and a suitably dirge-like pace. The liveliest thing in the film is Bridges attempts to snare a Deado into revealing himself by eating Indian food with bad table manners. Whats interesting is that even when not trying to talk through a mouthful of curry, Bridges is all but unintelligible behind his thick cowboy-esque accent that muffles most of the distinctions between vowels and consonants as the actor overacts, perhaps in compensation for his inability to communicate verbally. Reynolds, on the other hand, eschews any snarkiness or irony that might perk up the proceedings, and instead he sticks strictly to the existential angst his character faces, punished for stealing in order to give his beloved wife, Julia (Stephanie Szotak), a better life, and being unable to repair the damage to his reputation done by Hayes. The schtick of Nick and Roy appearing as an old Chinese man and a blonde bombshell respectively to everyone not R.I.P.D. wears thin after the first incident, while the film itself slowly devolves into incoherence and a peculiar musical interlude before a climactic finale that is a cheesy and predictable as the police raid that begins the film. Even Bacons usual intensity is flattened to a lackluster disinterest.
There is also little in the way of chemistry of any kind going on. Certainly the ersatz banter between Nick and Roy never takes off, and neither does the repartee between Roy and the squad supervisor, Proctor (Mary-Louise Parker) as old flames whose sparks havent not quite burned out, though Parker does have the snarkiness and irony that Reynolds wasnt using.
R.I.P.D. is one long yawn and a waste of excellent source material thats been subverted into formulaic dullness.