First slide

Scattershot action adventure about a corrupt Boston cop (Ryan Reynolds) who, inspired by the love of his trusting wife (Stephanie Szostak), decides to return to the straight and narrow. Informed of this change of heart, however, his even more crooked partner (Kevin Bacon) kills him and covers up the crime. Waking up in the afterlife, the slain officer is given the opportunity to forestall judgment of his misdeeds by serving on a celestial police force called the Rest in Peace Department (lead by Mary-Louise Parker). Uneasily paired with a crusty Wild West-era lawman (Jeff Bridges), he must hunt down dead villains who have managed to evade divine justice by lingering on earth - a pursuit that eventually sheds new light on the circumstances of his own demise. Director Robert Schwentke's adaptation of Peter M. Lenkov's series of graphic novels features convoluted post-mortem dynamics only some of which are compatible with Christian faith. Though Bridges struggles to sustain the proceedings with amusing bravado, the screenwriters' attempt to combine a buddy movie with a special-effects extravaganza, a comedy and a redemptive romance dooms the film to attention-deficit ineffectiveness.

Watch out for: Much action violence with fleeting gore, a nongraphic marital bedroom scene, brief partial nudity, occasional adult humor, a few instances of profanity, considerable crude and crass language, a couple of obscene gestures.

Rated: A-III, adults; MPAA: PG-13, parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2013