Don’t Believe the Trailers—R.I.P.D. is the Ryan Reynolds Movie We Deserve … Until Deadpool Anyway

When I first heard of R.I.P.D., the concept sounded meh, I’ll admit. Adapted from Dark Horse Comics Rest in Peace Department isn’t that clever a turn of phrase. Worse still, Ryan Reynolds has developed a knack for showing flashes of promise before promptly crashing comic franchises into the Bog of Eternal Stench. Let’s not mention Green Lantern or the way Dead Pool ends up in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds), and Kevin Bacon (uh, everything, including X-Men: First Class) gave me a little hope that it might be something along the lines of Men in Black with demons. I could go for that, I thought.

Clearly the marketing folks were holding reviewers back, probably because of a lack of faith in the film. And then I saw the trailers for R.I.P.D. and noticed Parker’s character shared my surname-that’s really when the knives came out. Surely they were going to do more damage to the Proctor name than all those idiotic Police Academy films put together. And my review would be sweet, sweet revenge for their offense, I figured.

So I sat down to watch R.I.P.D. “The 3-D looks good early on,” I told myself. “Ryan Reynolds is delivering a solid Ryan Reynolds performance. So when does the film finally turn into the charmless, brainless, toothless, generic summer schlock fest I expected?”

To my utter surprise, against all odds, it never did. R.I.P.D. is fun. And R.I.P.D. is-get this!-pretty darn good, too.

The snappy script, economical direction, and imaginative visual flair kept the audience engaged and laughing the whole time. At times, it reminded me of Ghostbusters. At times, it was Hell Boy. The principals looked like they were enjoying chewing up the scenery and undercutting every scene with punch lines.

It’s not the epic superhero story Man of Steel. But don’t believe the Rotten Tomatoes score either: Grab the popcorn and chow down on this delightful summer treat.