Hollow, unfunny and astoundingly dull, this big-screen adaptation of the Dark Horse comic finds two mismatched officers of the afterlife’s “Rest in Peace Department” – crotchety gunslinger Roy (Jeff Bridges) and newly deceased Nick (Ryan Reynolds) – trying to track down chunks of an ancient gold monolith while they simultaneously wrangle escaped souls destined for Hell. I can hear the Hollywood-boardroom pitch: “It’s like Men in Black, only with dead people!”
And, hey, did you know Kevin Bacon is in this movie? Neither did I… presumably because he asked that his presence be expunged from all pre-release marketing for this hugely disappointing, and kind of embarrassingly awful, summer offering.
There are so many things wrong with this movie that it’s hard to know where to begin. So, how about a numbered list of lowlights?
1. Reynolds and Bridges have ZERO chemistry. And chemistry is important for any kind of buddy picture – even one that’s a sub-par knock of better films in the genre – to work. Ipso facto, this one doesn’t.
2. The effects, which alternate between impressive and cheesy, seem to take precedence over things such as story and direction and humor. Every scene has effects, yet few have the other three.
3. What story there *is* is boring. As in, “I really don’t care about this, can we leave?” boring. Even though it’s only 96 minutes long, the movie feels like it takes forever to get started. And then, when it does, not much happens. There are convoluted plot points that are never explained (why does Indian food make souls freak out?) and extraneous characters (Mike O’Malley, anyone?) and none of it is interesting.
I’m sure someone somewhere thought this would be an amazing first film in a series but, if Nick and Roy’s inaugural outing is any indication, I really hope sequel plans are duly zapped into the great beyond.