Fourth of July, so a lot of Americans maynotbereadingme. The Canadian contingent might be though.

You may recollect that a while ago I was railing against crap ads for crap things I don’t remember and hence don’t need. Ryan Reynolds, at that time unknown to me, took quite some stick. He has redeemed himself in a couple of films I caught over the past week.

First out of the hat, R.I.P.D. This is a barely disguised reworking of the Men In Black franchise, but it’s none the worse for that. Instead of the MIB looking for aliens up to mischief, RIPD is staffed by dead cops looking for dead baddies up to mischief. So far, so implausible, but so was MIB.

Like MIB, this is a mismatched-cop-buddy movie, and the protagonists are my previous resident pain, and the always admirable Jeff Bridges, who plays an ex Wild West lawman. There’s clear humorous chemistry at work here, and some crackling dialogue*. There’s also the amusing gag that the characters appear to the real world not as they are, but as avatars. Gunslinger Roy is a sex kitten, and poor old Nick looks like a wizened old Chinese person, then gets a makeover as a goofy girlscout. I know, I know, but it does work.

Then you also get, for good measure, the police chief Proctor, played by the always watchable and engaging Mary-Louise Parker. She made a name for herself in Red as the hapless victim caught up in the gunfire and getting to like it. She was in the sequel Red2 as well. In RIPD she has the same charm but matched with a hint of eccentricity and more than a hint of badarse attitude.

And you get Kevin Bacon. There again, what film can you watch where he doesn’t crop up**?

Then The Proposal. This also nods its head at an earlier film, Green Card. Reynolds plays the PA to a fiercely competitive literary editor played by Sandra Bullock, who’s a Canuck whose visa has expired. It very quickly turns into the sort of romcom that she’s pretty much made her entire career out of, but as ever she’s charming, very willing to laugh at herself (see the bit where she has to kneel down to propose then can’t get to her feet again because of the Louboutin*** shoes she’s wearing), and has, as always, impeccable comic timing.

Ryan, with a little help from your friends, you’re off the hook.

*At one point there’s an OK Corral sort of standoff, and Jeff Bridges’s Roy flicks his frock coat away from his guns and says, ‘I got this. I invented this shit.’ I nearly wet myself.

**He’s been in some bloody irritating ads too, including one where he’s dressed in Britney Spears’s red PVC catsuit, and no, I have no idea what he was advertising.

***The red soles are a dead giveaway.

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