If you feel like you’ve already seen this movie, it’s because it came out a few years ago and was titled Men in Black. And while I know someone will jump on me in the comments section about the numerous distinctions between them, the general conceit appears the same. Young rookie cop joins grizzled, confident veteran to battle the forces of evil (aliens, undead, whatever) that walk amongst us without our knowledge. The old and young guys will have it rough at first as the newbie adjusts realities he never could have imagined, but will learn to work together if they want to stop the end of the world (or something along those lines). The players might be different. Some of the beats and jokes might vary. But man, the similarities just seem too many to ignore. It even appears as if Jeff Bridges is playing Tommy Lee Jones in a cowboy hat. Crazy.

In R.I.P.D. Ryan Reynolds is a freshly dead cop, killed in the line of duty, whose body is transported to the police department of the dead. It seems as if some dead folks don’t want to walk through the pearly gates (or more possibly, into the fiery pits) and try to stick it out in the world of the living as long as they can. The R.I.P.D. flushes them out with an array of out-of-this-world weaponry (sound familiar?) without the rest of the world (hopefully) being any the wiser.

There aren’t many reasons to suspect this flick will garner any significant critical praise. The premise seems like a retread and many pieces of the action appear silly and contrived. Weirdly enough, director Robert Schwentke is avoiding retracing his own steps this weekend-- he directed the original Red (72%), but isn't returning for the sequel. Aside from that surprise hit, though, his resume (The Time Traveler’s Wife-37%, Flightplan-38%) doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence. His other work has been decidedly below average. Need some more evidence? Screenwriting team Phil Hay and Michael Manfredi put Clash of the Titans (28%) and Aeon Flux (10%) at the top of their resumes. So while with the Rest in Peace Department around, things aren’t looking good for the reluctant dead, the prospects for this film look even bleaker. The Rotten Watch for R.I.P.D. is 33%

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