The Fall Guy (2024)

by | May 6, 2024 | Movie Reviews, New In Theaters | 0 comments

The Fall Guy makes for a lovely and entertaining romantic comedy, but it fails to achieve its full potential as a stunt work showcase for Hollywood’s unsung action heroes. For months now, many in the film and online community have heralded The Fall Guy as a love letter to the old action films Hollywood used to make and they’ve claimed that it honors the men and women who beat their bodies up to make the stars look great on camera. This reaction had me quite excited because action choreography is such an overlooked art that has long deserved recognition from the Academy Awards, and the bonus is that this film is helmed by someone who’s been an integral part in 21st century film action. There are a multitude of reasons why this film could have been something truly special but leave it to Hollywood to shift focus to where they think the money is.

The Fall Guy

Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling) is the stunt man for the famous actor Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and one of the best in his profession. He’s got a great job and a great thing going with the camera operator on his latest film, Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt). Before the two can really fall in love, Colt suffers an awful accident and leaves the world of stunts behind for good. After some time has passed, Colt is offered a chance to come help save a film from Ryder’s obnoxious ways and a chance to redeem himself with the film’s new director, Jody. When Ryder goes missing it’s up to Colt to step in and make sure Jody’s film goes off without a hitch!

The pairing of Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt is ultimately what saves this film from totally disappearing from your memory after you watch it. Finding brilliant bits of comedy between takes on the fictional set, Gosling and Blunt lead with a sweet sincerity to their characters and create a repartee that’s highly enjoyable to sit in on. What really sells the connection are their more tender interactions with each other, especially when they get vulnerable and can bring so much to relate to with their characters. Taking the reins in the fictional director’s chair, Blunt has free reign over how best to punish Gosling with as many grueling takes as it takes for him to feel her heartache. Though Blunt may have the comedic upper hand in the pairing based on the physical comedy she can evoke from Gosling, it’s his soft-hearted nature that keeps their flame alive and makes all his stunt suffering seem worthwhile. There are still remnants of his Ken from Barbie in his performance, but it’s difficult not to enjoy a loveable Gosling performance.

David Leitch, a former stuntman and stunt choreographer, has such a fascinating filmography that’s been built on pairing action and comedy to absurd degrees. While many favor his work on Deadpool 2, Hobbs & Shaw, and Bullet Train for that exact pairing, I find Atomic Blonde to be my personal standout as it drops the comedy and focuses far more on the action at hand. While The Fall Guy’s comedy works fine, for a film about stunt work I was really hoping to be blown away by stunts and explosions. The movie within a movie bit works fine as well, though I imagine it would’ve been more interesting to watch actual stunt workers be integral to the main story. With more of the focus on love and laughter the film starts to impress less on the action front as it becomes more casual to the characters and audience. What once spectacle there was fizzles out by the ending and I couldn’t help but be disappointed by the lack of a jaw-dropping finale.

I love Ryan Gosling and you’d never hear me complaining about his inclusion, but if this film really wanted to honor stunt work as a whole and the people who’ve made it what it is, I feel that Gosling shouldn’t have been the focal point of the story. The irony is that Gosling had multiple stuntmen himself throughout the movie who make him look great, but they certainly aren’t getting much of the attention. While it’s awesome that Gosling continually recognizes them in the press, the press are the same people who are proclaiming this movie to be the best homage to stunt workers and I simply don’t buy it. There are undoubtedly some fun stunts going on towards the beginning, but at a certain point the film’s focus shifts entirely and so does the genre. None of these things make The Fall Guy less entertaining or a worse movie, but it’s being propped up as something it doesn’t come close to, and those expectations certainly got the best of me when I realized how much of a rom-com it really was.

The Fall Guy oddly ends up getting in its own way as it tries to accomplish far more than it originally set out to. The script doesn’t hold up without the talent doing the heavy-lifting and everything they’re parodying within Hollywood ends up feeling hollow. With multiple twists and turns, the film hops through many curious genres that don’t all end up playing well together. Despite never totally finding its tone, The Fall Guy still offers plenty in the pairing of Gosling and Blunt and still delivers on a few great stunts. It’s far from the film many of us were led to be and unfortunately that’s a lot of what ends up holding it back from being a staple in the action/comedy genre. It may be fun for a night, but in the end it’s just a bummer that something full of so much talent ends up being largely forgettable.

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