Pride Goeth Before ‘The Fall Guy’ with Ryan Gosling & Emily Blunt

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No votes yet Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – “The Fall Guy” is one of those movies where what’s happening on the margins is so much more interesting than the main event. And the promotional campaign for it is far superior to the film itself. Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt have the romantic chemistry to fuel a high octane action comedy … but “The Fall Guy” never steps on the gas.

Gosling’s Colt Seavers is a stunt man in love with a camera operator Jody Moreno (Blunt). The film begins promising enough with a single take trip through the behind the scenes set of an unnamed action movie with Colt and Jody flirting over walkie talkies while he prepares for a big fall. However then the movie grinds to a halt after Colt breaks his back, ghosts Jody and washes up as a parking valet while trying to forget a career in the movies. He’s talked back onto set when the egotistical star Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) goes missing while shooting a sci-fi western blockbuster being directed by, you guessed it, Jody.

Fall Guy
The Fall Guy
Photo credit: Universal Pictures

For reasons known only to studio accountants, Colt has to fly to the land down under, where the spectacle is being filmed. Why Australia? Beats me, but it fails to add much of anything to the proceedings. The film clearly wants to put a focus on the business of making these eye popping stunts, and yes there’s much to be said for practical effects. But I frankly expected more energy and fun from the stunts themselves … it’s the kind of a movie that talks about how many barrel rolls the car is about to do, but when the stunt actually happens it’s a little anti-climactic.

Part of that dullness may be due to the sci-fi setting, and the fact that the vehicle itself looks like a used Tesla Cybertruck. I much preferred the interplay between Gosling’s Colt and Blunt’s Jody when they stopped and had a laugh together. In one conversation they flash back to their early days when she jokingly breaks a breakaway bottle over his head … that’s both funny and endearing, plus they look great together. The interplay between Colt and the film’s stunt coordinator (Winston Duke) where they quote action movie lines to each other is fun too, but too often they’re crowded out by the dunderheaded story at hand.

Colt has to do some detective work trying to find the missing action star and finds himself in a heap of trouble involving drug dealers, a dead body and a secret mastermind behind it all. This is the kind of plot that falls apart the second you think about it, so it’s a shame that so much of the movie has to just choke down the machinations and plot twists to get to what people came to see.

Some of those stunts seem clumsily reverse engineered to produce a shot for the trailer, but the fun is fleeting. The closest the movie comes to delivering something with real energy is a chase involving a dump truck and Colt’s trusty 4x4 through the streets of Sydney. It’s kind of fun, but for all its good intentions it doesn’t manage to produce anything with the same kind of energy (or fun) to match any one of the last four Mission Impossible movies. It doesn’t even live up to director David Leitch’s previous effort, “Bullet Train.”

Fall Guy2
Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt in ‘The Fall Guy’
Photo credit: Universal Pictures

The film works up to a big climax on the set of the movie-within-a-movie (which looks like the kind of forgettable blockbuster that would tank a career). It just lumbers along though and never picks up the momentum while the sci-fi setting seems to fade into the same CGI blur of visual noise, even when its trying to highlight the real people who make the magic happen on screen.

Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt as these characters might have gotten a decent one-hour episode out of this in “name only” adaptation of the source, an old 1980’s TV show, but there’s not enough here for a feature. To get a better take on Ryan and Emily, instead watch one of their numerous promotional appearances, or their recent SNL appearance, or the Oscars.

”The Fall Guy” is in theaters beginning May 3rd. Featuring Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt, Hannah Waddingham, Winston Duke, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Stephanie Hsu. Written by Drew Pearce. Directed by David Leitch. Rated “PG-13” contributor Spike Walters


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