Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker, and Stephanie Szostak

When the trailer for R.I.P.D. debuted, I immediately thought that it looked like Men in Black with dead people instead of aliens.  Good-looking rookie cop a la Will Smith? Check. Grumpy old Tommy Lee Jones type veteran? Check.  Secret agents who secretly save the world from destruction? Check. Check. Check.  Unfortunately, that is where the similarities end as R.I.P.D. lacks the wit, creativity and overall charm of the Men in Black franchise.

Nick (Ryan Reynolds) is a happily married cop in Boston.  However, Nick has been on the police force for many years, and he is frustrated by low wages and his inability to provide a better life for his family.  In the midst of this frustration, he and his shady partner Bobby (Kevin Bacon) stumble across gold during a bust.  They each take some of the gold.  But Nick has some reservations, and decides to turn the gold in. After Nick tells Bobby his plans, Bobby shoots and kills Nick during a raid.

Instead of going to face judgment when he dies, Nick is recruited by the Rest in Peace Department (“R.I.P.D.”).  R.I.P.D. is an afterlife police department that is comprised of some of the best law enforcement officers throughout history. Apparently, there are crafty dead people who somehow escape judgment.  They are able to return to Earth and mask their true undead forms.  The R.I.P.D. captures these dead-ohs and turns them in for judgment, akin to bounty hunters.  Proctor (Mary-Louise Parker) oversees the Boston R.I.P.D..  Proctor partners Nick with veteran cop Roycefus (Jeff Bridges).  Roy is a cop from the old west.  He is grumpy, tough, rude and crude.

Roy proceeds to introduce Nick to his new role.  As members of the R.I.P.D., they can walk around and interact with people, but they appear in different bodies.  Nick’s new persona is an older Asian man, and Roy appears as a hot, young blonde.  As Nick tries to accept his fate, he struggles with his partner’s betrayal and unresolved emotions regarding his wife.  To compound the situation, an unusual number of dead-ohs are popping up everywhere, endangering life on Earth and Nick’s past life and his R.I.P.D. work collide.

R.I.P.D. should have been better. With a cast that includes Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker and Ryan Reynolds, R.I.P.D. had the potential to be the start of a new franchise.  Unfortunately, the script just does not get the job done.  As previously stated, the plot is akin to the Men in Black film series.  A rookie cop is paired with a grumpy veteran in a secret organization that routinely saves the world.  The partners have a rocky start as their personalities clash, but ultimately unite to defeat a villain.  It is simplistic and predictable.

Moreover, the dialogue is not particularly smart or funny.  Neither of the two lead roles is particularly amusing or interesting.  Bridges is supposed to deliver the comedic goods, but he does not have any material from the script, and frankly his depiction of Roycefus in unappealing.  Usually, a rude veteran cop is amusing.  Bridges delivers few laughs, and is occasionally disgusting.  There is one particular scene where Bridges eats Indian food to uncover a dead-oh, and I actually had to turn away rather than watch him eat.  In fact, I only laughed once throughout the entire film when Bridges remarks that he was “billy-goated” after Mary-Louise Parker bites his goatee. 

To make matters worse, dead-ohs are pretty disgusting to look at.  Some aliens can be cute, but all dead-ohs are just plain gross.  During the course of the film, I begin to dread the unveiling of a dead person’s true form as I knew it was going to be another visual assault on my eyes.

With that being said, Kevin Bacon plays the role of the sleazy villain in the film well.  Moreover, there are some intense, big budget action sequences that are entertaining. 

While I would not say that everything about R.I.P.D. sucks, there is a lot wrong with this film.  It narrowly escapes a wasted rating because it does have some cool special effects.  I certainly would not recommend seeing this in theaters.  R.I.P.D. earns a 0.09% rating.