The premise of
Attempting to review this film, it's tempting to cut-and-paste turns of phrase from other reviews, as "R.I.P.D." feels so cobbled together from other movies, a bit of "Men in Black" here, a touch of "Ghostbusters" there.
The entire film has an oddly underdone quality to it, as if aiming not for greatness but to simply be passable. One of the film's main conceits is that the living see officers of the R.I.P.D. ("Rest in Peace Department") as avatars, someone else, and so Bridges takes the form of a model-ready blond (model Marisa Miller) and Reynolds an elderly Chinese man (veteran character actor
The film is a visual mess, with cheap-looking effects hampered even further by crummy and unconvincing 3-D. (Anyone who insists on seeing this movie — because a relative or neighbor worked on it, perhaps — will certainly get better value for the money by skipping the 3-D.) The film frequently runs into what has become the true scourge of modern cinema of scale, that once the screen becomes dominated by computer generated imagery, the brain somehow unconsciously picks up that it's all zeros and ones dancing about and the heart checks out. With anything made possible, too often nothing matters.
A rare spot of wit involves Reynolds asking Parker why Steely Dan music is always playing in her office. It genuinely feels like people just passing the time, waiting for whatever it is they are supposed to be doing to get started. A viewer grows to know the feeling well. "R.I.P.D." arrives in theaters on a wave of vaguely bad buzz and, perhaps worse, general indifference, as the clunky, noisy and confused film feels like make-work for all involved.
MPAA rating: PG-13 for violence, sci-fi/fantasy action, some sensuality and language including sex references.
Running time: 1 hour and 36 minutes
Playing: In general release