The Fall Guy Movie Review: Barely amusing but loaded with plenty of romance and action

The Fall Guy Movie Review: Barely amusing but loaded with plenty of romance and action

The quirky premise has the sweet nostalgic aftertaste of an 80s romantic comedy. With a splendid chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt, the romance largely works
The Fall Guy(2.5 / 5)

The Fall Guy has an inherent charm but the charm feels algorithmically structured. It has all the right doses of action, comedy, and romance, built around each other in the right proportions, in a perfectly balanced screenplay. However, the human tendency to seek out inauthenticity keeps pointing out that the charm feels plastic and manufactured. 

Take for instance ‘The uncanny valley effect’, where humans would look at a humanoid robot or a CGI creation that looks vaguely human, and feel mildly unsettled because a primal part of our brain keeps telling us that what we are looking at isn’t quite human. While this is largely a visual attribute, the screenplay of The Fall Guy does evoke an uncanny valley effect, with how much it tries to be a whimsical action-comedy. While we do stay engaged with the flow of the story, we cannot shake the feeling that the film is not quite what it is trying to be.

Director: David Leitch

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson

After superstar Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) disappears, his stunt double Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling) must find him and get him back on the set so his ex-girlfriend Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt) can finish her big debut film, and maybe Seavers can get the love of his life back. The quirky premise has the sweet nostalgic aftertaste of an 80s romantic comedy. With a splendid chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt, the romance largely works. We feel the spark and even though you know where the ‘will-they-won't-they’ eventually leads to, you still want the characters to end up together. However, the biggest debilitating factor of the film ends up being the humour and the dialogue. The Fall Guy religiously follows the recipe of modern comedies. We have meta commentaries on the story’s structure, excessive pop culture references, drug-induced hallucination jokes, cameos nobody asked for, and a post-credit gag to wrap it all up. The humour is watered down, and bland, and the best reaction it gets out of you is that you are mildly amused, which happens sparsely. 

The one aspect of the film that makes the best use of the genre is the action. Director David Leitch leverages the Hollywood setting of the story and delivers a stunt sequence wherever possible. And the action is appropriate to the lightheartedness of the genre as well. There are different types of action on film. Some are intense and gripping while others, in the vein of television wrestling, look thoroughly amazing with no intention of raising your pulse. The action in The Fall Guy belongs to the latter category. In a time when films drench the screen with blood and gore, it is refreshing to see a light-hearted shade of action. It reminds us of the early 90s Jackie Chan action comedies, where visual gags are ingrained in whimsical fight sequences, where even the protagonist is not immune to failures and stunt gags. While Emily Blunt stands out with her expressive, emotionally resonant performance, Ryan Gosling amps up the charm with his laid-back, restrained approach that goes well with the overall tone of the film. The supporting characters blend into the background and refuse to stand out.

The Fall Guy has all the right ingredients: An engaging story, likeable performances, romance that connects with you and is loaded with plenty of action. However, the film delivers the bare minimum and fails to hold your attention on account of a flimsy screenplay and ineffective humour. It belongs to the genre of film that entertains you by not straining your attention, that amuses you but exerts no effort to keep you hooked. You can carelessly zone in and out of focus and still feel like you had fun. The Fall Guy is the kind of action-comedy you play on your screen at home while you're doing something in the background, but when someone asks, you still say you had fun. 

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