'R.I.P.D.' fails to rise to the occasion

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Most moviegoers will follow Jeff Bridges anywhere, and this time he leads them to the afterlife as first imagined by a Dark Horse comic.

Even without the 3-D, Mr. Bridges would jump off the screen in "R.I.P.D.," a supernatural action comedy in which he plays Roy Pulsifer, a marshal in the 1800s who met a grisly demise and dissection and now is part of the Rest in Peace Department.

He tracks monstrous souls disguised as ordinary people, although, like poker players, these Deados have "tells," including a distinct reaction to Indian spices.


'R.I.P.D.'

2.5 stars = Average
Ratings explained

  • Starring:

    Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds.

  • Rating:

    PG-13 for violence, sci-fi/fantasy action, some sensuality, and language including sex references.


Roy is paired with a new arrival, Boston police detective Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) who made some missteps before his death. The mismatched partners are returned to familiar territory, but no one recognizes them; instead they're represented by avatars, a knockout blonde for Roy and an elderly Asian man for Nick.

In keeping with the theme for summer 2013, they must try to save the world. "You gonna sit there and mope, or do you want to help me stop the apocalypse?" Nick asks Roy when mankind's fate is imperiled.

"R.I.P.D." has some nifty details, as when time literally stops or a Steely Dan tune is piped into the Boston R.I.P.D. to relax the newly dead. And the leads are joined by Kevin Bacon as Nick's police partner, Stephanie Szostak as Nick's widow and Mary-Louise Parker as a R.I.P.D. bureau chief.

But the movie is marred by an underdeveloped screenplay and villains who seem cartoonishly dated in their digital design. Allowing Mr. Bridges to play an ornery, long-haired lawman who cannot forget how the coyotes abused his corpse is funny, but even he can carry a movie only so far -- and this one falls short of the finish line.

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Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: bvancheri@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1632. Read her blog: www.post-gazette.com/madaboutmovies.


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