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Critical mess: 'R.I.P.D.' galvanizes critics with its awfulness

By Chris Lee

3:50 PM EDT, July 19, 2013

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The Ryan Reynolds-Jeff Bridges deceased-buddy-cop comedy “R.I.P.D.” may not be the worst reviewed movie this summer -- that honor belongs to Adam Sandler's “Grown Ups 2.” But “R.I.P.D.,” which arrived in theaters Thursday night with a noted expectation of failure, holds the distinction of being the film that has seemingly galvanized critics with its sheer awfulness, prompting torrents of savage and often-hilarious prose.

On Film.com, Laremy Legel dispatches “R.I.P.D.” swiftly in his opening sentence, calling it “not so much of a movie as it is a movie-like substance.” Nathan Rabin, exercising admirable magnanimity in the Dissolve, meanwhile, observes that “ ‘R.I.P.D.’ begins from a place of endless possibilities and imagination, then follows the breadcrumbs of formula to a wholly generic end.”

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In the New York Post, Kyle Smith takes issue with “R.I.P.D.’s” obvious and gratuitous cribbing from certain genre forerunners. “For a movie that so strenuously rips off ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Men in Black, ‘R.I.P.D.’ manages to come up with fresh ways of being absolutely terrible. The plot manages to be fully predictable and freakishly bonkers at the same time, seemingly born of the same kind of brainstorming-on-L.S.D. session that must have given us ‘Howard the Duck.’ ”

So turned off by the film was Time’s Richard Corliss, his review consists of a more-or-less faithful transcription of random notes he jotted down about “R.I.P.D.” in the darkened screening room.

“A half-hour into the film, and it feels like the eighth day of jury duty,” Corliss writes before putting Bridges in the cross-hairs: “He should think about mothballing that ‘coot’ character he played in ‘Men Who Stare at Goats,’ ‘Crazy Heart’ and ‘True Grit.’ The varmint swagger and intonations steeped in tobacco juice were fine once or twice, but outsize is not the right size for a performer long acclaimed for his range and subtlety.”

Writing on Indiewire’s the Playlist, Gabe Toro awards the film an F but saves his most arch appraisal for “R.I.P.D.’s” lackluster action sequences.

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“The 3D seems like it would benefit from this, but instead, it’s used for scatological effect, most prominently in scenes where characters drop food and vomit onto the screen, right into your 3D eyeline. It’s an appropriate metaphor.”

In The Times, Mark Olsen wields his critical cudgel to warn viewers about the film’s shoddy FX.

“The film is a visual mess, with cheap-looking effects hampered even further by crummy and unconvincing 3-D. (Anyone who insists on seeing this movie -- because a relative or neighbor worked on it, perhaps -- will certainly get better value for money by skipping the 3-D.)"

Vulture begins its snark attack on the film with its review headline: “So Blah We Can’t Even Be Bothered to Come Up With a Jokey Headline.”

“God, where do I start?” the review begins.

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chris.lee@latimes.com

Twitter: @__chrislee

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