In a summer overrun with tentpole blockbusters like "Iron Man 3," "Star Trek Into Darkness," "Man of Steel" and "The Lone Ranger," it's certainly going to be a challenge for a mid-budget comedy-fantasy like "R.I.P.D." to steal some of the spotlight. Now, with the release of the film's trailer, it's going to be downright impossible.
To be honest, we had completely forgotten that this movie was even coming out until today. Based on the comic book series by Peter Lenkov, "R.I.P.D." (Rest In Peace Department) tells the tall tale of Nick Cruz (Ryan Reynolds), a recently slain police officer who finds that heaven for cops is kind of like joining the "Men in Black," except with ghouls and ghosts and other dead-types instead of space aliens. The MiB vibe continues as Cruz is partnered up with a crusty old department veteran, played by Tommy Lee Jo ... er, Jeff Bridges.
From there, you'll be expecting Vincent D'Onofrio as Edgar to show up as the trailer plays out almost exactly like "Men in Black" except for that aforementioned dead folk/aliens swap. Jeff Bridges does an impersonation of his own "True Grit" character, which -- at least from what we can tell from the trailer -- doesn't quite have the resonance that Marlon Brando's meta-performance had in "The Freshman."
"R.I.P.D." also looks like it has a mythology too fussy for its own good, as there's some silliness involving Bridges and Reynolds appearing to living people as a hot model and old Chinese man, respectively. Really, there appears to be no reason for this flourish other than to conjure some cheap sight gags -- and to cast a hot model, of course.
And really, Hollywood, can nobody figure out what to do with poor Ryan Reynolds? He's not the best actor in the world but he certainly always seems eager to please. Help him out, will you?
"R.I.P.D." opens July 19.