Lifeless, violent dud recycles many better sci-fi comedies.
What parents need to know
Positive role models
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that R.I.P.D. is a sci-fi comedy that's likely to remind many viewers of Men in Black. It revolves around characters who die and come back as "ghost cops," whose job is to catch dead people who are still walking the earth. Violence is frequent but generally bloodless and cartoonish, with plenty of fake-looking computer-generated effects/creatures (some of whom may still be pretty scary for little kids) and lots of flipping cars and smashed buildings. There are also some shooting scenes. Things get a bit more serious when the main character deals with saying goodbye to his beloved wife. Language includes a few uses of "s--t," as well as one or two uses of "bitch" and "ass," and there's some kissing/suggestion of sex, as well as jokes at the expense of groups like women and Chinese people.
What's the story?
Boston police detective Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) would like to give his wife, Julia (Stephanie Szostak), a better life. A stash of gold found at a crime scene might be his ticket, but he's having second thoughts. When his crooked partner, Hayes (Kevin Bacon), hears this, he shoots and kills Nick. In the afterlife, Nick unwittingly becomes a member of the Rest in Peace Department. Now paired with a new undead partner, Roy (Jeff Bridges), Nick goes back to Earth to help send "deadoes" to the afterlife where they belong. Unfortunately, there seems to be a weird connection with Hayes, the gold, and a terrifying plot to bring the apocalypse down to earth. Can Nick and Roy solve the case and stop the evil plan in time?
Is it any good?
With lots of similarities to the Men in Black movies, Ghost, Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice, Heaven Can Wait (and its remake Down to Earth), as well as many other movies, R.I.P.D. comes across as almost totally lifeless, as if it were on autopilot or generated by a computer that had been fed certain data and asked to spit out a movie. Even a great actor like Bridges merely reprises his Oscar-nominated cowboy performance from True Grit ... without all the clever dialogue or character depth. (At least he gets a few laughs.)
Director Robert Schwentke settles for sub-par special effects -- the monsters look rubbery and fake -- and haphazard plotting: Knowing what he knows, why would Hayes shoot and kill Nick? The comedy falls flat, the action is unexciting, and, even worse, the romantic angle is hopeless given that the hero is dead and his wife is still alive; it's too heavy an idea for such a "light" movie. R.I.P.D. is a waste of time; you've already seen it done before, and much better.
Families can talk about...
- Families can talk about R.I.P.D.'s cartoonish violence. Was it scary or exciting? Does any of it seem real?
- Is the movie scary? How does it see the monsters in this movie? Are they funny, or sad?
- Did you notice any stereotypes in the movie? How do you feel about the movie's portrayal of women, Chinese men, etc.?
- Does the idea of a dead main character make the movie seem depressing? How does such a light movie handle such a dark idea?
|Theatrical release date:||July 19, 2013|
|DVD release date:||October 29, 2013|
|Cast:||Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon, Ryan Reynolds|
|Topics:||Monsters, ghosts, and vampires|
|Run time:||96 minutes|
|MPAA explanation:||violence, sci-fi/fantasy action, some sensuality, and language including sex references|
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