Top of the Flops 4: R.I.P.D.

The Rest in Peace Department is responsible for hunting down dead souls that refuse to leave the mortal realm. It’s staffed by dead cops from a range of times and places, leading to the mismatched pairing of Wild West lawman Roy (Jeff Bridges) and newly deceased Boston cop Nick (Ryan Reynolds) who was recently shot by his corrupt partner (Kevin Bacon).

The film’s zany premise and send-up of cop movies place it firmly in comedy territory, but unfortunately no-one told Ryan Reynolds, who doesn’t just play it seriously, but sucks the life out of what could have been a fun romp. While it has a number of flaws, the single biggest failing is his performance, severely limiting its enjoyability.

But it’s not just Reynolds’s fault, even if it mainly is. The confusion is evident in the script. The first half is quite enjoyable. It’s silly and imperfect, but there are some good gags. But once it gets bogged down in plot – something about closing the portal between earth and the afterlife so corpses rain down on Boston – it severely loses its way.

If you’re doing a parody of a cop movie you don’t need a big, Avengers ending. It would have been enough to have them deal with a particularly tricky ‘deado’, and keep things in the style of a cop movie. Instead they go for a big CGI fight and and overplayed love story which are not in the least bit entertaining, devoid of humour and more of a drag than Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

More so than the other films we’ve reviewed as part of this series it’s incredibly hard to see where the money went. The special effects are horribly cartoony, giving it the look of a low budget B movie, so quite where $130m went is hard to pinpoint. You could have made it for a quarter of the budget and it wouldn’t have lost anything – in fact it might have been better as they would have been forced to scale down the finale.

Ironically for a film about souls, this is a soulless attempt to make a hit by numbers, which deserved to lose $100m. It’s less Ghostbusters more dust busters.

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