‘The Fall Guy’ brings meta humor and charismatic characters

Meta humor tends to be hit and miss. When it’s done well, like in films such as “Tropic Thunder,” “Hot Fuzz,” or “Deadpool,” it can truly be exceptional. But when it’s done badly, it just comes off as trying too hard rather than a vessel to convey the story. That means a story, in any of its forms, should have its aspects for a reason. Everything in a story should amount to the whole of its parts. Meta-humor isn’t a bad thing, it only depends on how it’s used in context of the story that’s being told. 

The Fall Guy official movie poster. (UNIVERSAL PICTURES/PROVIDED)

“The Fall Guy” is what would be called an old-fashioned “popcorn movie” where people can sit down, relax, and have a good time without thinking too hard. The concept of this film is pretty cool. A stunt guy who gets in way over his head in a massive conspiracy. Like the 80s film “FX Man,” one could have done a lot with this concept if it were explored properly. Instead what we got was an adequate, though predictable action flick. There’s witty one liners, action choreography, and sap aplenty in this film, though more seasoned film fans will likely want to watch better films after seeing it. 

There are things to be commended in this film, for certain. The action choreography and editing is consistently strong, Ryan Gosling is charismatic and likable in his role as the titular fall guy, and his chemistry with Emily Blunt is strong as well. Winston Duke also proves to be good as Gosling’s best friend, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson steals the show as shallow actor Tom Ryder. The film moves at a brisk pace and some of the humor can be charming, even if it won’t knock your socks off. 

But there is the inescapable feeling that we’ve seen this film before. There are better films that have been made about the movie making process and there have been better films made parodying the action film genre. David Leitch is a talented guy, as his work on the first “John Wick” and “Atomic Blonde” have proven, but “The Fall Guy” is a film where it seems like he cut back and had fun. But, if there was a little more meat to this film, it would have been more enjoyable. 

The Fall Guy is fun, but nothing that you hadn’t seen before.

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