(out of 5)
Ryan Reynolds is a narc who feels bad about stealing pricey gold pieces that he and fellow dirty cop Kevin Bacon snatched while on a raid. Determined to give the good stuff back, he is killed by his corrupt partner and suddenly finds himself in the afterlife. Reeling from the surprise of his new situation, Reynolds is informed that there is a police division in the great beyond (run by an adorable Mary-Louise Parker) that monitors wayward souls who go back down to earth in disguise as humans to avoid judgment. Reynolds is paired with an ornery nineteenth-century sherriff (Jeff Bridges) and ordered to return to his home town of Boston and nab the bad guys, while at the same time hoping to put right the things he did wrong in life and get back at the guy who killed him. Thankfully, Bacon’s games end up tied to the plot of the supernatural villians in a convenient twist that is just one of the many logical leaps in this hunk of celluloid garbage. It is never cohesive enough to be an adventure (why do the dead souls look like the Incredible Hulk? Exactly what are our heroes’ super powers anyway?) and never funny enough to be a guilty pleasure (Bridges phones in his True Grit persona without much success). The plot is not imaginative, it’s just ridiculous and gimmicky but executed in an imaginative way, with weird elements of pathos and drama mixed in, and half-hearted attempts at nihilism (ooh, he crashes cars and doesn’t care). All the actors are performing in different movies, with Reynolds looking thoroughly confused as to what he has gotten himself into.
Directed by Robert Schwentke
Cinematography by Alwin H. Kuchler
Music by Christophe Beck
Production Design by Alec Hammond
Costume Design by Susan Lyall
Film Editing by Mark Helfrich