The Fall Guy review: Gosling sticks the landing in bland blockbuster | Films | Entertainment

The Fall Guy is the latest TV show reboot/reimagining to hit the silver screen, spiritually following in the footsteps of 21 Jump Street, The Lone Ranger, et al.

Ryan Gosling takes on the legacy role of Colt Seavers, the stunt man to Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s A-lister, Tom Ryder and the employee of hot-shot producer-turned-director Jody Morena (played by Emily Blunt).

After an accident on set forces Colt to take some time away from Hollywood, his relationships crumble, and his confidence is destroyed.

Eventually, though, he is dragged back into the game by wild-eyed producer Gail Meyer (played by the much-cherished Hannah Waddingham) when a mystery surrounds one of his old friends.

The Fall Guy’s concept is not the most original plot of all time, and it certainly won’t win any screenwriting awards, but it does have one major thing going for it: Ryan Gosling.

Gosling’s effervescent charm and charisma bled through the screen in every second of The Fall Guy. If you enjoyed cackling through the Canadian hunk’s performance in 2016’s The Nice Guys, he very much channels more of that.

Gosling not only keeps you laughing with his hilarious one-liner deliveries (even when the script is plain and anaemic), but he manages to keep you gripped through some of the film’s most obtuse moments.

On top of that, the I’m Just Ken star simply makes everyone around him perform better. His on-screen chemistry with Emily Blunt is palpable, and – at times – bordering on authentic. Likewise, one double-act sequence with Winston Duke was the highlight of The Fall Guy, for me; a hilarious and pure meta-comedy set in a fantastic fistfight. Look out for it.

This theme ran strong through The Fall Guy: Gosling emboldened everything and everyone around him. He even put every effort into his stunts. As a movie about a stuntman, the picture needed some pretty memorable moments. And, while they were a little few-and-far between for my liking, the Hollywood star defied his fair share of death – and made it look like he had a blast doing so.

Unfortunately, Gosling (and his closest compatriots) are where the joy of The Fall Guy truly begins and ends.

The picture’s concept is trite and overlong. Even though it is based on a TV series of the same name, The Fall Guy somehow seems to excel within its unoriginality. Full of dull double-crosses, mistaken scenarios and flimsy plot hooks, it overstays its welcome quickly.

Cutting through the predictable plot is Waddingham’s Gail, who comes across as more annoying than anything else. It’s a shame because Waddingham is one of the standout performers in her best-known appearance, Ted Lasso. Was this a misstepped performance from her? Or was she fatally struck by the awful, awful script as well? At the very least, she probably can’t be blamed for the extremely bad-taste joke about Amber Heard and Johnny Depp she muttered in one unfortunate sequence.

There is a lot to love within the finer details of The Fall Guy, though. Metal Storm, the Dune-esque feature film Blunt is (meta)directing, is hilarious. Between on-the-nose references to science-fiction cinema from throughout the years and some more oblique nods hidden in Post-It notes, there are a lot of visual gags to be had here.

What’s more, the constant slapstick humour was actually… pretty funny. One (cliched yet chuckle-worthy) drug sequence had the audience rolling with laughter as Gosling deadpanned his way through the comedy. At times, the movie as a whole felt a bit like an Austin Powers movie – in the best way; nonsensical comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

If The Fall Guy is as powerful as Gosling’s charisma, it would’ve been an all-timer. Instead, it’s going to prompt viewers to give a “Thumbs Up” on Netflix and move on. 

The Fall Guy hits cinemas May 2, 2024.

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