‘Fall Guy’ Dumbs Down ’80s TV Show … Way Down

Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt throw off sparks between stupefying set pieces

“Idiocracy,” indeed.

Mike Judge’s 2006 classic predicted the dumbing down of society. If Hollywood has its way, we’ll get there sooner than later.

And we can partly blame “The Fall Guy.”

The action comedy lifts its title and main character from the Lee Majors TV show. The action romp does what 99 percent of modern blockbusters do – reduce the source material to endless action and stupefying storylines.

We’re not expecting a “Fall Guy” movie to quote Shakespeare, but for the love of all that’s holy can’t a wannabe blockbuster hold together in some fashion?

The Fall Guy | Official Trailer 2

Ryan Gosling stars as Colt Seavers, a veteran stuntman who leaves Hollywood after a brutal accident. The story picks up 18 months later, and Colt is dragged back to the business at the prodding of hard-charging producer Gail (“Ted Lasso’s” Hannah Waddingham).

The gig reunites Colt with his old flame, Jody (Emily Blunt). They dated before his devastating accident, but she’s moved on, and up, since then.

She’s now directing the latest Tom Ryder blockbuster, and she doesn’t need Colt distracting her from a crack at the big time.

Except Tom (Aaron Taylor-Johnson, wasted) has gone missing, and Gail hopes Colt can both perform the necessary stunts AND track the A-lister down.

Or something.

“The Fall Guy” only cares about the stunts, and a few of them are worth the price of admission. Yet a great stunt needs a story to anchor it. Otherwise, it’s eye candy and nothing else.

Like this film.

The same is true for the Colt-Jody romance. Gosling and Blunt are cute together, but the story is more interested in chaos theory than storytelling.

So we get too many scenes that make no sense, and any narrative momentum crumbles.

Some sequences are so dumb they hurt.

At one point Jody attacks a person in an alien costume (don’t ask). The scene goes on forever, and while Jody appears to have no formal fight training or skills she delivers a beatdown that would make John Wick blush.

Why? Who knows?

Earlier in the film, Teresa Palmer gets one scene to call her own as Tom’s girlfriend, and she nearly kills Colt by attacking him with a sword.

Why? Who knows?


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Director David Leitch (“John Wick: Chapter 4,” “Bullet Train”) craves that chaos, and it keeps undermining the film’s better elements.

The film’s first 10 minutes are darn near glorious. Gosling’s character narrates the moments leading up to his life-altering accident, and there’s silliness and laughs throughout.

More, please!

The rest of the film is a slow but steady downhill ride through Generic Hollywood Blockbusterism.

Like most new movies, “The Fall Guy” goes on a good 15 minutes too long, squandering our goodwill in the process.

Along the way, we do get some classic movie lines and odes to the stunt people who make movies brighter. Stay for the end credits for more of the same.

We’re also treated to some shallow swipes at Tinsel Town, but nothing that feels fresh or meaty.

Fine. “The Fall Guy” is a love letter to the stunt profession, and only nominally tied to the Majors TV show. Would it hurt the creative team to put a little thought into said letter? First drafts are never worth throwing up on the screen.

HiT or Miss: “The Fall Guy” is breezy, light and so aggressively dumb that nothing sticks. And, yes, that matters even in an action comedy.


  1. The best stuntman movie was Hooper with Burt Reynolds, Sally Fields and Jan Michael Vincent. That is when they made real movies and poked fun at Hollywood.

  2. I thought this looked like an easy pass. For starters- the trailers showed virtually nothing to help the audience understand and root for it’s lead character. He’s a stunt guy and for some silly reason he’s being told to track down the missing Hollywood actor that he doubles for. Also having the romantic interest be a director just felt strange. Why not have her be a fellow stunt woman? That way they would both be of even status and it would be more accessible for the audience. The trailers made the film look like another love letter from Hollywood and written to itself. How many of these projects have to fail for them to realize that no one wants to see that?

  3. I hate Hollywood. They take beloved series from your childhood and make jokes out of them. The Dukes of Hazard, Starsky and Hutch, etc. They ran out of new ideas a long time ago. It’s time they ran out of film.

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