New Film ‘The Fall Guy’ Is A Funny Movie About Making Movies


Some movies are made for prestige; others for fun. The Fall Guy, based on an early 1980s comedy, is strictly fun. The hero, Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling), plays a more or less down at his luck stunt man. His real issue is that he is crazy about Jody (Emily Blunt), a really ambitious camerawoman turned director who will risk the life and limb of Colt in order to get ahead. Although we have learned from Barbie that he is missing a key part, he has plenty of heart.

Normally, on the more or less chaotic set, that would start off a wild bit of fun, but director David Leitch spends enjoyable time setting the scene. We seldom see many scenes of films being made. More time is spent in setting up than actually shooting, and there are constant complications.

Leitch keeps all of these front and center. We don’t really care very much what will wind up on the screen in the film; we will never really see it. But the interactions between the folks is where we will find our fun. This is a movie about making movies, so the reality level is very low.

Jody is horrified to discover that Colt is on set: there was a bit of an issue when a stunt she set up crippled him for a while at the start of a previous project and he, for a variety of very male reasons, disappeared from her life.

Meanwhile, there’s the big boss, tightly wound Gail Meyer (Hannah Waddington). She had told Colt that Jody needed him. And her choice of the lead, Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), has disappeared. And guess who is expected to find him? All the while being assigned dangerous tasks by the director who wants him dead! Come on, this is the movies we’re talking about. You should be keeping up!

There are also some really good performers in smaller parts. Winton Duke as Dan Tucker, Colt’s best friend and confidant, is the one person who cares about him. Stephanie Hsu, as Ryder’s assistant, comes off an Oscar nomination and is a real bit of fun.

The key complication is that Ryder is not really a victim. He is a very bad boy who is constantly in trouble. The film itself is a typical cowboy meets alien movie and is being shot in the backwoods of Australia, far from any useful resources. On top of everything else, everyone has a different agenda. And that’s how the fun really begins. Gail claims Ryder must have been kidnapped. But she’s a bit too determined to prove that, and there are far too many gangsters hanging around.

The film is lucky to glory in its cast. Gosling is one of our best physical comedians, attractive even when being silly. He handles silly bits and then does spectacular stunts. He is able to let his feelings show, even when not reciprocated. And Blunt knows how to do a slow burn and do it really well. Hers is the more difficult part. She has to play nasty for a while before falling gracefully. It may take a while, and setting Cole on fire a few times, before you realize she’s back in the love game.

But it doesn’t stop there. Ryder is a major problem, as Cole finds out, but Gail will go a long way to protect him. That leads to one of the funniest kidnaps sequences ever, where Cole, a very well-trained attack dog and Hsu’s very petite assistant character take on three thugs in a huge truck.

And still the plot goes on. Remember, this is an ode to stunt workers. So the games go on. Even after the crimes have been solved, the stunt workers must prove it to the world. As Cole drives off with Ryder fastened down, he scares him with a few jumps and rollovers before saying, “And now we have Thelma and Louise,” with Ryder demanding “Don’t they both die?”

You’ll have to see the rest. But it is a lot of fun. The romance, for a change, is between adults, and the scripts are well-written. The stunts are often shown in full, which makes them more fun, since they last longer, and we get to see how they are done.

This is a fine movie to see if you like both action and some romance. One of the better movies so far this year.


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