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“The Fall Guy” Is a Fun Mess

Written by: Hannah Tran | May 3rd, 2024

The Fall Guy (David Leitch, 2024) 3 out of 5 stars

Stuntman-turned-director David Leitch (Bullet Train) gives us the movie he seems born to direct with The Fall Guy. This romantic action-comedy centers on Colt Seavers, an injured Hollywood stunt performer, as he attempts to rekindle a relationship with his former fling, Jody, by being in her high-concept directorial debut. His personal troubles spiral out of control when he finds himself at the heart of a murder conspiracy involving the leading man. The juicy setup and sincere admiration for the stunt work that goes into the type of movies it pays tribute to makes for the perfect popcorn-flick to kick off the summer, even if the story never fully comes together.

Leitch will do whatever it takes to entertain, and there is certainly no shortage of explosions, shootouts, and car flips (a record-setting amount!) to look at. Some action sequences are more inventive than others, just as some of the meta-humor lands with certain jokes more than others. Underscoring many of these scenes is also a collection of seemingly bizarre music choices, some of which actually work. And when it succeeds, The Fall Guy is genuinely thrilling, often pretty funny, and delightfully indulgent.

l-r: Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt in THE FALL GUY ©Universal Pictures

But even the greatest number of cannon rolls are unable to distract from an uneven story. The rom-com half of the script never fully meshes with the murder-conspiracy plot. The latter of these is initially confusing and begins far too late in the movie to feel natural, and the movie takes far too long to resolve its over-stuffed plot to maintain a sense of excitement. The disjointed relationship between the two ends up making the entire endeavor feel overly drawn out.

However, the sheer charm of stars Ryan Gosling (Barbie) and Emily Blunt (Oppenheimer) makes the narrative shortcomings nearly forgivable. Even if it may be difficult to look past their real-life personas and fully buy into the idea of them as a couple, they’re each so individually enjoyable to watch that there is never a dull moment. They bring a refreshingly light presence to the story, and I only wish they weren’t so often separated by the plot and shared more actual screentime together.

Still from THE FALL GUY ©Universal Pictures

Their magnetism is yet another way in which The Fall Guy pays tribute to the big standalone blockbusters of the past (as well as to the original 1980s television series). The abundance of movie references between the characters are fun to listen to, and it’s clear that Leitch is doing his best to honor the unsung heroes behind the movies. It’s sweet to see the often-thankless work of stunt performers get an iota of recognition. But while the script sticks to the tried-and-true formula of blockbuster classics, it never really achieves a similarly enduring impression. What it comes down to may just be the lack of what its primary subjects have in spades: daring. 


Hannah Tran is a film critic and filmmaker from Las Vegas, Nevada. Hannah works as a film screener for the Las Vegas Film Festival and publishes an independent zine focused on highlighing Asian American filmmaking.

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