It's amazing that we are almost 30 years out from the release of "Ghostbusters," and we're still feeling the ripples from its detonation in the heart of mainstream culture even now.

Frankly, I'm amazed that we haven't seen more films cut from that same basic template. They are expensive, sure, and they're not easy to get right, but it's such a tempting formula. I honestly thought "Men In Black" had crapped out, but the third film wrung some surprising joys out of it. Even so, it seems like that particular franchise is so expensive at this point that Sony can't really afford to do more of them.

Enter "R.I.P.D.", ready and willing to take its place, and based on this first trailer, it seems like a very confident, slick riff on the basic ideas. Ryan Reynolds is the SWAT officer who is killed in the line of duty and immediately recruited into the Rest In Peace Department, the law enforcement of the afterlife, made up of the greatest dead lawmen from throughout history, all working to keep unruly spirits in line.

There are a lot of different monster and ghost designs here, and the best joke in the movie looks to be the difference between how the guys really look and how people on Earth see them. Reynolds appears as James Hong, the Chinese character actor best known for "Big Trouble In Little China," while everyone sees Jeff Bridges as a gorgeous woman played by Marisa Miller. It's a very funny device, especially when we see it in action here, and it appears that Bridges is in full-on Rooster Cogburn mode as the veteran officer helping to break in Reynolds. Mary-Louise Parker appears to be playing their senior officer, and any time you have Mary-Louise Parker being a droll wiseass, I'm pretty much onboard.
 

 

 


I haven't read the comic this is based on, but it seems like a fun trailer. It's familiar stuff, so it all comes down to chemistry and just how crazy they're willing to go with the concept.

"R.I.P.D." arrives in theaters July 19, 2013.